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Object Name Fan
Date 1893
Description Folding fan, Mai Ogi type. Monochromatic paper leaf in shades of gray. Painted silhouettes of buildings in black, white, and gray; the building in the center has two towers and four figures on the roofline. Above the buildings are black and white flowers with tan and orange leaves. Hand-printed inscription at bottom: "MACHINERY HALL, WORLD'S FAIR, CHICAGO, 1893". The top edge of the leaf is scalloped. The reverse side of the leaf is shades of gray with hand-painted white heart-shaped leaves. Dark brown bamboo sticks and guardsticks; the guardsticks have laced tan cord which is knotted at the top edges. Metal loop attached at rivet, with tan cord tassel. Made in Japan for export to the western market.
(Keywords: Fashion, Accessory, Asian, Commemorative)
Acquisition Gift of Mrs. Charles G. Stiles
Ownership and History This fan is a souvenir of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. Machinery Hall, which is illustrated on the fan leaf, was an exhibit building that featured displays of the latest technological inventions.
The Rand, McNally & Co.'s "Handbook of the World's Exhibition," published in 1893, provided a detailed description of Machinery Hall. The impressive structure was over 850 feet long and 500 feet wide, plus an annex, covering more than 17 acres. The book noted that the building exhibited "the largest and most interesting display of electric power ever shown," and described the "immense masses of machinery," including the steam engines and dynamos that powered the Fair's electricity.

This type of fan is called a Mai Ogi, or dancing fan. The Mai Ogi, which first appeared in the 17th century, became extremely popular in this country after the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, where the Japanese pavilion had walls lined with paper fans. Custom-made fans commemorating events, or for use as souvenirs or for advertising, were special ordered from Japanese fan manufacturers during this period.
Earliest Date 1893
Latest Date 1893
Material Paper/Bamboo/Cord
Subjects Exhibition buildings
Lexicon Sub-category Personal Gear
Catalog Number C02.0314
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Fan Association of North America (FANA), 2013. (
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