Mandalay-Style Painted Fan
height: 35cm, outstretched width: 67cm
This fine, folding fan is in excellent condition and is a remarkable and rare survivor given its age. It has spent the last few decades in a private London collection. It comprises fine, bone supports and silk painted in tempera colours and gold. It is painted on both sides with figures in Burmese dress. On one side, King Thibaw Min, Burma’s last king, and his consort are seen atop an elephant, accompanied by a procession of ministers and other figures from the Court. Many of the women wear sarongs or longyis with the characteristic zig-zag luntaya-acheiq pattern associated with the Burmese court.
The outside bone supports are pierced with foliage patterns. A white metal hoop at the base would have allowed the fan to be suspended.
A similar fan in the Victoria & Albert Museum is described in Armstrong (1979, p. 69) as probably the work of a Court Painter attached to the Royal Palace in Mandalay. The V&A fan is believed to have been found in Mandalay in 1885 and is ascribed to ‘circa 1880’. Click
to see the V&A fan.
The example here is in excellent condition and is without repairs or tears. There is some loss to the painted designs, as might be expected, but this is relatively trivial.
Armstrong, N., Fans from the East, Debrett/V&A, 1978.
private collection, London
Inventory no.: 4248