The Gunbai War Fan: From TR Reboot

Gunbai War Fan


Hello, Tomb Raider fans!

It has been a while since I played the reboot of Tomb Raider. However, one of the items in one of my favorite areas caught my eye and I have decided to write about it.

This Japanese Gunbai 軍配,  Gunpai (Gumpai) or dansen uchiwa war fan “military-apportioned fan” is something that really existed among the high ranking Samurai officers. They used these specific fans to silently communicate commands to their troops as well as to ward off arrows and for shade from the sun. Unlike the traditional counterpart that folded neatly in accordion style, a Gunbai fan is made of wood or metal and is open. An interesting little fact is today sumo referees use gunbai to alert viewers to the victors in sumo matches.

As far as war fans go, something I found quite interesting and on display was another type of war fan known as a Tessen. seen here:

Tessen War Fan
This is a Tessen war fan that folds. The opposite of the Gunbai. On display at Iwakuni Castle, Japan

It is on display at Iwakuni Castle in Japan a favorite place and a must see if you ever venture to Japan! I used this example in contrast to the Gunbai.

Tessen (鉄扇) war fans, unlike Gunbai war fans, were folding fans with outer rungs made of thick plates of iron. The idea was to have the appearance of a regular folding fan. By having a weapon such as this, the Samurai could bring them to places swords and other weapons were not allowed. Oddly enough the Samurai also used them as a swimming aid and throwing type weapon.

Gunbai war fan
An actual Gunbai war fan


Though the above fan is bronze the moon and the sun are visible on this one and on the one from the game as well. According to the forces of Taoist cosmology, the moon and the sun represent the negative (yin) and positive (yang). This was an important belief in strategy planning of battles in China and Japan. So when used on an item of war such as a “war fan” it illustrates the military power of the owner. This also applies to the fan from the game though that one is wooden.
In case you are wondering where this fan is located in the game, you will find it in the Mountain Temple area. The following video by IGN will illustrate where and how to find it as well as another fan in the area.






Thank you for viewing, and remember as Lara would say and me as well:

Explore the World!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s