The first silk parasols in China were made in a Hangzhou silk factory in 1932. Light, attractive and easy to carry, they sold like hot cakes and continue to do so today. In recent years, silk parasols have even found their way into foreign markets.
Silk parasols are made of henon bamboo and silks. Henon bamboo is native to Zhejiang and is the perfect material for the silk parasol. It looks elegant and unsophisticated. It is moderately thick with a bright luster; its stem is strong enough to withstand even the hottest weather.
One branch from this bamboo is split into 32 or 36 strips and a functional handle is added to complete the framework. When a silk parasol is closed, the silk is neatly folded inside and the bamboo frame forms into a section of round bamboo.
Silks for the parasols are made locally and are light and thin. Stretched tightly on the bamboo frame, they are able to keep out the sun but let in the cooling breeze.
They serve as beautiful and pragmatic sun-shades.
Silk parasols look very attractive when they are open. They are brightly-colored and the decorative artwork on them are either printed, embroidered, or painted. The artwork is largely birds, flowers as well as scenic sights of beautiful Hangzhou, such as Autumn Moon Over the Calm Lake and Three Pools Mirroring the Moon. West Lake silk parasols enjoy a highly deserved reputation as works of art coupled with a practical purpose. They are very popular with young ladies.
Where to buy Name: China Silk City (杭州中国丝绸城) Address: No.253, Xinhua Road, Hangzhou (杭州市新华路253号)
Source: New Greater Hangzhou: A New Guide by George Chen
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