Photos: Ashley Pon/Getty Images
A cultural symbol of the Hakka in Meinong District of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, oil paper umbrellas are considered "full art" because of their many components.
Of the few producers of these handmade beauties, Wu Jian-ying is one of the most pouluar in the Meinong Township. His wife, Wu Jian-ying (pictured), dedicates herself to the craft, pasting cotton paper on the edge of an umbrella frame.
Lin Rong-jun, of Guang Jin Sheng Umbrella, uses traditional techniques, hand-painting calligraphy onto an oil-paper umbrella.
No industrial dryers needed. Lin Rong-jun simply sets the wide variety of beautiful umbrellas outside to dry.
Oil paper umbrellas have a number of traditional uses. The matron of honor covers the bride with an umbrella to ward off evil spirits in Chinese and Japanese wedding ceremonies, and these fragile gifts also symbolize fertility as wedding dowry gifts.
Today, oil paper umbrellas can be found inside homes all over the world as pieces of art and souvenirs from traveling abroad, but their connections to the Hakka society remain strong with every stroke of an ink brush.
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