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Umbrellas - While umbrellas have been used in various forms around the world since ancient times, they seem to have become popular in England and the United States through the China trade of the 18th and 19th century. Umbrellas were often used ceremoniously in Asia but it was in the West that they took on a more utilitarian role. More often than not they served the purpose of protecting one from the sun rather than rain and were termed parasols. We recognize this form in the modern beach umbrella but they were of primary importance as hand held devices to upper class Victorian womanhood. Pale skin was highly prized for any form of a tan was to be associated with common people who performed outdoor labor.







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