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The Traditional Oil Paper Umbrella Unfurled

December 10, 2015

Zheng Yinghai holds a real oil paper umbrella as he walks in Tengchong, Yunnan province, Nov 30, 2015. [Photo/SIPA]

For more than one hundred years, the 100 households of Xingyang village in Yunnan have been maintaining the traditional craft of making oiled-paper umbrellas.

90-year-old Zheng Yinghai keeps alive the oil-paper umbrella, a skill that he began mastering when he was only twelve.

Zheng comments that what was once his job, something he did for a living, has now become a daily habit.

Zheng carries out all of the 10 steps involved in the traditional method.  No production line here, he lets his imagination roam free and paints all the flowers and branches onto the umbrella himself.

However with mechanization and industrial methods of production, oil-paper umbrellas from factories have taken over.  Zheng feels that he still prefers making by hand and he vows to keep the craft alive as long as he can.  He has taken care to pass on his techniques to his own children so that the authentic product can last a little longer.

(China Daily)