The Chinese character for umbrella is 傘 (sǎn) and is a pictograph resembling the modern umbrella in design. Some investigators have supposed that its invention was first created by tying large leaves to bough-like ribs (the branching out parts of an umbrella). Others assert that the idea was probably derived from the tent, which remains in an unaltered form to the present day. However, the tradition existing in China is that it originated in standards and banners waving in the air, hence the use of the umbrella was often linked to high-ranking (though not necessarily royalty) in China. On at least one occasion, twenty-four umbrellas were carried before the Emperor when he went out hunting. The umbrella served in this case as a defense against rain rather than sun. 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.
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