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Object Name Fan
Date 1876-1900
Description Folding fan, "Mai Ogi" type. Double leaf of maroon silk (front) and painted paper (reverse). The silk leaf has purple flowers and birds in stem stitch embroidery with silk thread. Reverse has a hand-painted bird and blue flowers. Tinted bamboo sticks, with tied green and white cord on guardsticks. Riveted at bottom. Made in Japan for export.
(Keywords: Fashion, Accessory, Asian, Floral, Victorian)
Acquisition Gift of George Peters
Ownership and History The wide folds and silk embroidery on this fan evoke the styles of the Far East. Its form, called a Mai Ogi or dancing fan, first appeared in the 17th century. Mai Ogi are fans of the type used in classical Japanese dance. They became extremely popular in the United States as a result of the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, where the Japanese pavilion had walls lined with paper fans. Souvenir fans were made specifically for the Centennial in large quantities.

This particular fan has no inscriptions. It appears to be of Japanese manufacture, but details of its early use are not known.
Earliest Date 1876
Latest Date 1900
Subjects Embroidery
Lexicon Sub-category Personal Gear
Catalog Number C02.0119
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Fan Association of North America (FANA), 2011. (
Legal Status Images and text in this database are copyrighted by the Staten Island Historical Society unless otherwise noted. Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.