Umbrellas - Jim Wageman

Traditional umbrellas, now apparently aimed primarily at the tourist market, are still made in a few towns in Chiang Mai Province, such as Bo Sang and Ban Tawai, perhaps elsewhere in Thailand as well. In the process, handmade paper or cloth is stretched over a bamboo frame, lacquered for waterproofing, and decorated with brightly colored, often kitschy, floral or scenic designs. 

This venerable craft seems to have originated in China, perhaps as early as the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), spreading from there to other parts of Asia and Southeast Asia. The tradition at Bo Sang dates back over 200 years, when umbrellas were given by the villagers to local monasteries for ritual use, with some umbrellas used domestically by the villagers themselves.