Parasols were originally developed in China where they were used initially for sun protection to replace large leaves and later as bold symbols of nobility. Chinese artists painted parasols with dragons, tigers, Chinese characters, flowers, landscapes and other Oriental themes and symbols.
In this project, students decorate their own paper parasol which can be used a support activity for learning about different asian cultrual or various hostorical and cultural events.
Duration: 1-2 hours
Cost per child: Approximately $4.00 to $4.50 (includes materials)
Materials: paper parasol, markers,( permanent or textas) acrylic paint, permanent pen, glitter, beads Parasol
Method: Children decorate the parasols with markers or paint: the decoration can be based on a theme or allow children to draw & colour what they like. Use glitter or sequins to complete decorating.
Nb: some children prefer to paint first then decorate with permanent markers afterwards. Alternatively children can use both markers and paint to decorate.
Origin of the word Parasol
The French word parasol comes from the late 1500’s to early 1600’s and was adopted from the from Italian word parasole, literally “protection from the sun,” from para- “defense against” + sole “sun,” from Latin solem . Children decorate the parasols with markers or paint: the decoration can be based on a theme or allow children to draw & colour what they like. Use glitter or sequins to complete decorating.
History of the Parasol
China is believed to be the home to umbrellas, which are still widely used in the country. The earliest umbrellas are known to have existed at least two thousand years ago, first made of silk and later popularly paper.
The Chinese waxed and lacquered their paper parasols because oil repels water. In ancient times, the frames of the umbrellas were made of mulberry bark or bamboo. Red and yellow umbrellas were used by royal families, and blue umbrellas, by the common people.
Ancient people used broad leaves to shade themselves from the harmful rays of the sun. However, leaves did not last long as they wither easily specially under the intense heat.
The people built a long-lasting protection against the sun, thus paper parasol was invented.
Originally, the Chinese used a leaf to cover their parasols later on, however, they replaced the leaf with paper. The first paper parasol was built 2000 years ago in China where paper was invented. It was made of rigid bamboo spokes around a wooden shaft or handle. A strip of paper was then fitted or pasted on the spokes.
Chinese artists paint the parasols with dragons, tigers, Chinese characters, flowers, landscapes and other Oriental themes and symbols. When they realized that the paper parasol was useless during rain, they applied wax or lacquer over the paper parasol to repel water. The lacquer or oil did not only make the parasol useful even during rainy season, but it also gave durability to the paper.
The Chinese people recognized that paper parasol symbolized nobility, prestige and social status. Noble or royal people had slaves to carry large parasols for them. Their parasols were elaborated, adorned with lace trimmings and silk was wrapped around the wooden handle.
Some parasols of these noblemen were very large that they needed several slaves to carry them. In one Chinese legend, there was an emperor who went to the forest to hunt. While hunting, he was being protected from the heat of the sun with 24 paper parasols carried by slaves.
Today, there are various ways to protect oneself from the sun, so the usefulness of the paper parasol has recedes, although some people still use it.
However, paper parasols are still valuable today as a fashion statement. With their brilliant and colorful design, parasols are perfect for decorating any home, office or establishment.
There are also appropriate paper parasols for every occasion like wedding or any party.