Parasol in India

Geeta Bharathan geeta at LIFE.BIO.SUNYSB.EDU
Sat Nov 20 14:46:18 UTC 1999

Thanks for the information about invention of the parasol.
It seems to me that the paper-based parasol must be a Chinese invention;
was it based on some general type of cloth-based device?
What is the distinction between a parasol and an umbrella (in the note

On Sat, 20 Nov 1999, N. Ganesan wrote:
> Geeta Bharathan asked:
>  >Was there a single type of parasol that was invented and spread from
>  >a  single location, or were there different kinds? Were Indian
>  >parasols made the same way as, say, Japanese parasols?
> The standard opinion is that the parasol was invented in
> China in 4th century AD (see Note 1). Given the fact that parasols are
> an integral part of India from the Northwest to Southern
> sangam texts from 2nd century BC at the very minimum and
> linguistic analysis by Palaniappan pointing very much back in
> time and that by 4th century Buddhism has established
> itself well in Wei dynasty China, it is likely that Indian parasol
> reached China.
> Note 1: Great Inventions Through History, G. Messadi'e,
> Chambers Compact Reference, 1991
> (Les grandes inventions de l'humanitie)
> p. 71 " Parasol, Anon., China, 4th century
>        ------------------------------------
> The first parasols appeared in the 4th century in China under
> the Wei dynasty. They were made of oiled paper stuck on to
> flexible ribs and were used for protection from the rain as
> much as from the sun. They were therefore designed on the
> model of the umbrellas which had preceded them by about
> four centuries."

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