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In ancient Egypt, the parasol is found in various shapes.In some instances it is depicted as a flagellum, a fan of palm-leaves or coloured feathers fixed on a long handle, resembling those now carried behind the Pope in processions. From such mentions the umbrella does not appear to have been used as a defence from rain; this is curious enough, for it is known that the theatres were protected by the velarium or awning, which was drawn across the arena whenever a sudden shower came on.The figure of this dais contained in Zhou-Li, and the description of it given in the explanatory commentary of Lin-hi-ye, both identify it with an umbrella.

The Chinese design was later brought to Japan via Korea and also introduced to Persia and the Western world via the Silk Road.

The Chinese and Japanese traditional parasol, often used near temples, remains similar to the original ancient Chinese design.

Another distinction can be made between manually operated umbrellas and spring-loaded automatic umbrellas which spring open at the press of a button.

Hand-held umbrellas have some type of handle, either a wooden or plastic cylinder or a bent "crook" handle (like the handle of a cane).

Umbrellas are available in a range of price and quality points, ranging from inexpensive, modest quality models sold at discount stores to expensive, finely made, designer-labeled models.

Larger parasols capable of blocking the sun for several people are often used as fixed or semi-fixed devices, used with patio tables or other outdoor furniture, or as points of shade on a sunny beach.

(Parachute means "shield from fall".) The word "umbrella" evolved from the Latin umbella (an umbel is a flat-topped rounded flower) or umbra, meaning shaded or shadow.

In Britain, umbrellas were sometimes referred to as "gamps" after the character Mrs.

Gamp in the Charles Dickens novel Martin Chuzzlewit, although this usage is now obscure.

However, the Chinese collapsible umbrella is perhaps a concept that is yet centuries older than Wang's tomb.

Gardiner Wilkinson, in his work on Egypt, has an engraving of an Ethiopian princess travelling through Upper Egypt in a chariot; a kind of umbrella fastened to a stout pole rises in the centre, bearing a close affinity to what are now termed chaise umbrellas. Possibly the expense bestowed in the decoration of the umbraculum was a reason for its not being applied to such use.

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