Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thoughts of Feather Fans

Another leaf from my own history lessons!!

I have often thought about asking an artist to draw a picture of my grandmother carrying a fan. That image is just so clear in my mind!! This is a drawing I found in Google Images. But it is still not my grandmother. Nearly though.

My grandmother loved to carry a fan which was actually part of her dressing. With a fan in hand she was always neat and tidy. To my youthful eyes then she was one cool lady. Indeed I never saw her flustered and sweaty. And I remember her being really angry only once in my life - when my cousin Ching did not get a job with a finance company.

Her "coolness" secret? A fan in hand. Those were the days when air conditioning was non-existent in Sibu.

Whenever she travelled up to Sibu she would never fail to put her feather fan in her basket. And I do remember with fondness that every one respected her basket all along the Rejang River. And this I do remember again - there was zero crime in the motor launch. No body stole from any body. So for years my grandmother carried the same good fan travelling up and down the river until it became synonymous with her.

And now take a look at this! A man who was synonymous with a feather fan! Zhuge Liang was a great historical figure who carried a crane feather fan at all times.

This is a hand drawn picture of Zhuge Liang. This kind of pictorial depiction of historical figure is a classic method. In most manhwa we used to read in the olden days cartoonists drew in this style. So I am very comfortable with it.

A new version of Zhuge Liang's fan in Red Cliff II (Zhuge Liang is played by Takeshi Kaneshiro )

Zhuge Liang or Kung Ming (also known as the Hidden Dragon) was the most famous strategist and inventor in Chinese history. His life history is part of the Romance of Three Kingdoms. In 208 in the Battle of Red Cliffs he showed that by knowing the geography of the area a battle could be won.

This is a painting by a western artist. The fan is highlighted.
In another arena - the English Francis Drake in 1588 defeated the Spanish Armada by being patient. He waited until he finished his game of bowls. The tide came up and a storm blew to destroy more than half of the 130 Spanish ships. The English defeated the great Spanish Armada with very few cannons and other fire arms. Queen Elizabeth I remained souvereign of the Seas!

Well the pages of history repeatedly tell us that Sun Tzu 's Art of War is supreme. Knowledge of geography can help win a battle.

Let's keep our cool by carrying a nice fan!

6 memories:

Just a Little Kindness said...

Just watched the movie Red Cliff II. I like Takeshi very much and also read up a lot of fan news about him especially in magazines. He chooses good roles for himself.
Acting wise Red Cliff is not really well protrayed in my humble opinion. But the special computer effect is good.

sarawakiana said...

Jalk - thanks for the comments. I like Takeshi too.
For real acting - my vote goes to Gong Li and Liew Ye.
I am just getting familiar again with some of the Hong Kong Movie stars.

philip said...

Feather fans were very important to many ladies of my grandmother's time too - she has one for many many years. She is the type who likes to keep things for a long time. One day she even went to the market to collect two feathers to repair her fan. I remember this very much and my sisters always laugh when they remember.

sarawakiana said...

thanks. That's right. My grandmother and her generation practised "Waste Not WAnt Not" and they were really frugal Foochows. The Three R's were more real to them then than to us nowadays!!

justin said...

Years ago when I was in Sibu I noticed some people collecting feathers from the chicken market. They told me that they were selling the feathers to some company which made pillows. Of course I did not believe it as a young boy then. I thought they were joking.
Now I am curious....was that true?

sarawakiana said...

Dear Justin
I am not sure about people collecting feathers for sale. I left Sibu in 1987.
May be some of my Sibu friends can help.
Was there really an export business for feathers?


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