Delving into the history of fans and umbrellas

By Raymond Zhou ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-09-05 07:53:50

Delving into the history of fans and umbrellas

This kind of long-handled fans were popular with royalties of ancient China.[Photo by Raymond Zhou/China Daily]

While the fan dance is a staple all across China, the umbrella is sometimes used in martial arts movies, the latest example being the very British film Kingsman: The Secret Service, in which Colin Firth's character executes a brilliant fight scene with a black umbrella.

Talk about cultural cross-pollination.

In Hong Kong movies, even the fan can be a lethal weapon.

In the old days there were many workshops and manufacturers in Hangzhou and its vicinity that specialized in the two items.

When I was a child, every household had at least one oilpaper umbrella.

However, in the 1980s when the umbrella with a retractable pole crossed the Taiwan Straits, it was such a hot item of fashion and convenience that it quickly replaced the older type of umbrella.

I was even commissioned to buy two dozen umbrellas when I returned from one Guangzhou trip. I then felt as if I was trafficking a symbol of innovation.

Three decades later, that kind of umbrella is so cheap and commonplace while the oilpaper one has almost become a heritage item.

Likewise, the fan has not been totally replaced by power-driven amenities. There is something about a fan that opens to a drawing and calligraphy. It can never be matched by the electric fan or the air conditioner.

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Editor's Picks
Hot words

Most Popular