Friday, April 22, 2016

Motifs: Sensu (Folding Fan)

Unlike the uchiwa (rigid, round, paddle-shaped fan) which is most appropriate in the summertime, the sensu, or folding fan, can be found throughout the year. With motifs such as this, color and positioning with other motifs will determine when the garment is best worn.

This yukata fabric features a shape reminiscent of  folding fans without the ribs and hinge-point.

It's hard to tell in this photo, but this pattern really IS a scattering of fans over a field of momiji. This kimono is lined, which, along with the colors and pairing of patterns, make it more suitable for autumn.
The versatility of this motif means that it's very easy to incorporate into many ensembles. Geometric motifs are likely the easiest to use to coordinate, such as with the first example below. In some cases, such as with the decidedly geometric sensu in the second example below, floral motifs might be used to compliment the garment to greater effect.

This swatch is of a lined kimono in colors that remind me very much of Taisho-era styling with bold colors and designs. The shape of the fan is abstracted, but undeniable.

This might initially appear to be a diamond motif, but the detailing at the left-hand corners suggest instead that this is a fan motif as well.

 All of my examples so far have been some sort of abstracted interpretation of the fan motif, but it is quite possible to find honest-to-goodness sensu on garments as well.

Unlined (hitoe) kimono with a scattering of fans from shoulder to hem.
I feel that this is the most whimsical of my sensu-motif offerings. The unfolded fans flutter from the shoulders down to a denser congregation at the hems and bottoms of the sleeves. These fans are also the most like fans of any of the other offerings, which can make pairing them with obi a bit of a challenge.

If you've been reading along from the beginning of this challenge, you may have noticed that I appreciate versatility in my motifs. As I try to give due consideration to what effect I might have with my choices, having options that can be a little ambiguous, or can set a different tone depending on the items with which they're paired, gives me a much greater 'vocabulary' than I might otherwise have if I was trying to be seasonally specific at all times. Versatile items really are a must for any wardrobe and if my kind readers have any special items that they find themselves reaching for when all else fails, I would love to read about them in the comments!

Tomorrow, we'll be looking at another versatile motif and one that, earlier this week, I promised I would be discussing: Tsuru (Crane)

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