Luzhou Fenshui oil-paper umbrella, as a state-level intangible cultural heritage, is highly praised as the living fossil of folk craft which has inherited old complicated craftsmanship.
Oil-paper umbrella is a type of paper umbrella that originated from China. It has been developed with different characteristics. Other than the purpose of providing shade, oil-paper umbrellas are also traditional essential wedding items. In both traditional Chinese and Japanese weddings, the matron of honour would cover the bride with the oil-paper umbrella upon arrival in order to avoid evil spirits. Purple umbrellas are a symbol of longevity for the elders, while white umbrellas are used in funerals.
In the early Hakka society, two umbrellas were usually given as dowry, due to the "paper" and "child" homonym in the language, symbolizing a blessing for the woman to "give birth to a son soon", a propitiatory compliment to the newlyweds at the time. Also, as the character "umbrella" contains "four people", gifting the umbrellas represents a blessing for the couple to have many sons and grandsons. In addition, because of the "oil" and "have" homonym, and that the umbrellas open into a round shape, they symbolize a happy, complete life. It was also customary to give an umbrella to a 16-year-old young man at his rite of passage.
Today, oil-paper umbrellas are mostly sold as works of art or souvenirs. However, with thriving tourism and neo-classicism, the special historical and cultural content of oil-paper umbrella is gradually reviving and loved by more and more people. Tracing living fossil of folk craft in Hangzhou Workmanship Demonstration Pavilion can be your interesting and unforgettable experience.