Chinese Traditional Crafts – Oil Paper Umbrella

oil paper umbrella

Oil-paper umbrella is one of the traditional handicrafts in China. It is a kind of paper or cloth umbrella originating from China. It is also spread to all parts of Asia such as North Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, etc., and developed oil-paper umbrellas with their local characteristics. In addition to it’s the daily necessities as umbrella, the oil paper umbrella is also an indispensable item for wedding etiquette. In traditional Chinese weddings, When the bride walks out of the sedan, the matchmaker will cover the bride with a red oil paper umbrella to keep away evil spirits. At the traditional Japanese wedding, oil-paper umbrellas are also used in the ancient wedding in Ryukyu.

In religious celebrations, it is often seen that the oil-paper umbrella is used as a shelter on the sedan. It is the meaning of perfection, as a symbol of people sheltering the sun and rain and keep away evil spirits. At present, most of the umbrellas used in daily life are Brolly, and oil-paper umbrellas are mostly sold to tourists as works of art.

Among them, Jiangnan classical production process is the representative of oil paper umbrella. Fenshui oil-paper umbrella factory is the only remaining Craft paper umbrella factory in China that maintains tung oil and stone-printing traditional craftsmanship. The traditional production technique of Fenshui oil-paper umbrella factory is praised by experts as “the living fossil of Chinese folk umbrella art”, and it is also the only one “National intangible cultural heritage” in the oil-paper umbrella industry.

Origin
Chinese making umbrellas have a long history, and the earliest umbrella was invented by Lu Ban’s wife, Yun. The oil paper umbrella is a traditional daily umbrella for the Chinese nation. It has been used for more than 1,000 years. Umbrella frame is made by hand-cut bamboo strips, and canopy is a lint paper coated with natural waterproof tung oil. The oil paper umbrella is one of the earliest umbrella in the world. It is made by hand and all materials are natural. It is the crystallization of the wisdom of the ancient Chinese. Oil paper umbrellas were spread to Japan and North Korea in the Tang Dynasty, and oil paper umbrellas were called “Tang Umbrellas” in the early days of Japan.

Production process
The process of making traditional oil-paper umbrellas is very cumbersome and relies entirely on manual work. There are folk sayings: process 72.5 steps.

The approximate steps are as follows:
1. Pick the finest bamboo
2. Make frame:  cut the ribs, and carry out the necessary technical treatments such as water immersion, drying, Then drill, splicing the frame, threading, installing the shaft and the handle.
3. Canop:  stick the cutted paper to the frame, trim, modular shape, solarization.
4. Painting:  painting all kinds of art patterns on the canopy, then drying.
5. Oiling:  Finally, the cooked tung oil is brushed on the canopy. After canopy completely dry, then oil paper umbrella can be used.

All procedures are manual from bamboo cutting to drawing patterns, no machine. The use of materials is also keep in the traditional mode, in order to maintain the charm of its ancient method; and refusing industrialization.

The beauty and elegant of oil paper umbrella, other umbrella products are never comparable with it.

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