umbrella

Large umbrella, also called the Umbrella of Ten Thousand People or 'wan min san', with a top section, three tiers or valances with Chinese calligraphy and two sashes stitched to the lowest part of the cotton top. The top is made from red tabby woven cotton and has a hole in the centre for the insertion of a pole, not included with the donation. The three tiers below are made of red satin silk, smallest at the top, largest at the bottom. Each valance has Chinese calligraphy worked in couched, gold-coloured metal-wrapped thread. The first sash may be translated as 'Presented with great respect in the tenth lunar month of the year ji hai of the reign of Guangxu by the Yungchun Religious Association'. This dates the donation to the doctor to 1899. The second sash says 'The congregation wishes John Luo the great medical doctor from Great Britain a glorious return'. The top valence reads 'To the benefit of China'. The middle valance has ten Chinese names and the bottom one 26, totalling 36 names in all.

This type of object was sometimes presented to a popular official as a token of respect when he left his district. All donors' names would be inscribed in gilt characters on an umbrella of red silk. But on this occasion, it was presented to welcome the return of a popular doctor (Dr. John Lyal) from Great Britain.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: enquiry@horniman.ac.uk