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The Umbrella

The Umbrella image
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Possibly many of yon suppose that ie umbrella is a modern invention, but ; is not. Both as an erublem of rank nd as a protection f rom sun and rain it s of very ancieu; origin. Though the ïaterials used in the manufacture have een constautly chaiiging, the general onstruction of the frame has been Uanged but little in thousands of years. Egyptiau and Ninevite soulptures of 3e earliest dates have many represenütïons of the umbrella, but it is invaribly in connection with royalty. It was lways held over the head of a monarch when he rode in his chariot and at his freat open air feasts. In some of the ïindoo sculptures Vishnu is represented arrying an umbrella when going on a isit to the infernal regions. We find frequent references to the unbrella in the Greek poets, for its use vas quite fashionable among wornen of ligh rank in Greece. In the middlo ages t was an emblem of rank in the church. Jmbrellas were carried over cardinals and bishops in solemn processions, and 11 of the large cathedrals owned one or inore umbrellas that were kept for use n such occasions. The Chinese adopted the umbrella at a very early period in their history, and 'or many centuries were the only people hat did not confine its use to the king and princes of the blood. However, they ermitted only men of wealth and high wsition to carry them. The common eople protected themselves from the elementa by making their hats broad and umbrella shaped. From the time that they established ;heir empire the Japanese have made mnch use of the umbrella. It is also nsed throughout India, but it is a mark of rank in Burma and Siam. One of ;he titles of the king of Burma is Lord of the Twenty-four Umbrellas. He uses white silk umbrellas, and no other person is pennitted to use a white oue. The princes of the blood each have, as a mark of distinction, two gilt umxrellas, with handles 10 or 15 f eet in ength. The other offlcers of the state ïave but one. From early drawings it seems1 probable that the umbrella was introduced .nto Europe in the fourteenth century, Dut it did not come into general use til about


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