(Originally uploaded by girlwparasol)
Although I live on an island in the sun, it's never been really fashionable to walk around with parasols. Except that, in recent times, we've been seeing lots of tourists from the Far East, mostly from China or more often from Japan, walking around the streets with these beautiful paper or cotton umbrellas to shade themselves from the sun. Chinese umbrellas are especially exciting to see. The umbrella has a long history in China and records prove it goes back 4000 years. The story goes that the wife of a very skilled carpenter by the name of Lu Ban, started sporting an umbrella he created for her. This apparently got others interested in the new gadget. The first ones were very expensive as they were made of silk. By the time of the Han Dynasty (206BC - 220 AD), people started to use paper oiled with tung oil for these umbrellas. Therefore oilpaper umbrellas took over. Chinese umbrellas were eventually introduced to Japan. From there they came to Europe in the 16th Century. Do you use an umbrella in the sun? I think they are so very elegant, don't you?