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Manifattura italiana (?)

1920 c.
in storage
Ancient Textiles no. 6941

This elegant ocher-colored parasol features abstract motifs on green and pink-colored spirals and a finely carved ivory handle in the shape of a parrot’s head set into the short wooden pole. Its size and decoration, together with the vaguely oriental style, place it firmly in the 1920s in the decidedly Art Deco style.

Umbrellas were first used as parasols in the West in the sixteenth century; these were originally made from a heavy ivory frame covered in leather or very thick fabric and would have been carried by a servant. Over time, the parasol evolved into increasingly convenient and elegant models until becoming an indispensable feminine accessory in a lady’s wardrobe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Elaborately designed and decorated, it is covered with lightweight fabric and embellished with lace and ribbon; collapsible models were also popular.


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