Parasol – from China to UK
Today the umbrella is one of the most popular personal items we carry with us, it’s indispensable when the weather is inhospitable. In the past we would be likely to only find them at royal courts, among geisha’s accessory or the creations of famous painters.
The umbrella was invented almost 4000 years ago, and, contrary to expectations, the idea didn’t appear of people’s need to hide from the rain, but to protect them from the sun, like parasols. They were also used in Ancient Egypt and Greece.
It is believed that the first umbrella was made in Ancient China, from silk, as a way of protection from the sun. Also, it seems, the first waterproof umbrella was made in China, by applying wax and varnish to paper umbrellas. The shape of the today’s, so common, umbrella is completely different from the one in Ancient China. The ancient parasol resembled a disproportioned fan, supported by a huge handle, like a cantilever parasol, and was held by slaves.
Over centuries this need for protection against the sun’s rays made people creative, which brought to light a huge variety of parasols, of different designs, colors and materials used. Now the slaves are replaced with wooden or aluminum bases and the fan is a bigger replica of a normal umbrella.
Centuries ago no respectful women was caught outside her home without an umbrella. These days no respectful garden is without at least one parasol, to bring a corner of shade to the torrid summer sun, which forecasters tell us will be plentiful this year.