Saturday, January 15, 2022

Oil-paper umbrellas - wagasa (Japanese: 和傘, "Japanese umbrella")

Oil-paper umbrellas - wagasa (Japanese: 和傘, "Japanese umbrella")

So-called Oil-paper umbrellas are often known in Japanese as wagasa (Japanese: 和傘, "Japanese umbrella"), and these with a bull's-eye design are called janomegasa (Japanese: 蛇の目傘, "snake-eye umbrella"). The handle and scaffold are often really colored black, however, sometimes other certain colors are used, as well.


An oil-paper umbrella is really a type of paper umbrella that originated in China. It subsequently spread across several East, South and Southeast Asian countries such as Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Laos, where it has been further developed with various different characteristics.

Other than the purpose of providing shade, oil-paper umbrellas are also traditional wedding items. In traditional Chinese and Japanese weddings, the matron of honor would cover the bride with a red oil-paper umbrella upon arrival to ward off evil spirits. Purple colored umbrellas are a symbol of longevity for elders, while white umbrellas are used in funerals. Oil-paper umbrellas are also used as props in Japanese traditional certain dances and tea ceremonies.

In religious celebrations, oil-paper umbrellas are really often seen on the sacred sedan chairs as cover, used to shelter people from rain and sunlight, also to drive the bad evil spirits away. Today, oil-paper umbrellas are mostly sold as works of beautiful art or souvenirs.





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