For our new series on accessories, this month we are focusing on… umbrellas!
Throughout history, one of the tools that enabled us to live more easily and comfortably was the umbrella and parasol, which slowly managed to evolve from exclusive use by the wealthy to one of the most commonly used objects in the modern world.
There has been evidence of umbrellas in the ancient art and artifacts of Egypt, Assyria, Greece, and China. These ancient umbrellas, or parasols, were first designed to provide shade from the sun in the form of palm leaves attached to a stick. In Ancient Greece and Rome, they were viewed as a luxurious female accessory and it was recorded that both Greek and Roman women had umbrellas that could open and close, often carried not by noble women themselves but by slaves and servants.
Umbrellas became popular again in Europe in the 17th Century, again as a woman’s accessory only and it wouldn’t be until the 18th Century that they became more acceptable for men to use!