History of Bor Sang Umbrella: Chiang Mai Thailand


Bor Sang Umbrella Village Location: Chiang Mai-San Kampaeng Highway (Route 1006), 9 km from Chiang Mai Old City

It is a famous place in Chiang Mai Province in Thailand and a go-to for most tourists.  It is a small village in the district of Sankamphaeng popular for what is now called the Bor Sang umbrella. Umbrellas are part of Thai ceremonies and the people’s daily life and protection from rain and the sun.

designing umbrellas at Bor Sang Umbrella Village

History of Chiang Mai’s Umbrellas

According to history, a Buddhist monk by the name of Pra Khru In-Tha went to a pilgrimage to a village near the Burmese border. In this village, he observed the people’s lifestyle, who were Thai-Lue descendants from China.  It was in this village where he learned about umbrella making. This was Pra Khru In-Tha’s personal interest. And so he observed and studied the whole process intently, and shared it with the villagers in Borsang.  He provided them with the needed materials for them to practice.  Initially, Borsang umbrellas were made to be offered to monks and used of their domestic convenience.

Bor Sang umbrellas, due to its beauty and uniqueness have gained so much popularity that Borsang villagers developed methods to improve its quality for mass production.  Since then Borsang umbrellas have been sold and are still one of Chiang Mai’s trademark souvenir.

As a result, Bor Sang umbrella making has become a livelihood by some villagers especially during post-harvest season.

Fast-forward to the present

Currently, Bor Sang umbrellas are at a salable condition designed not only to protect one from rain or from the scorching heat of the sun, but also for decorations in homes and other establishments as well as religious, royal, and political ceremonies.

These beautiful hand-made umbrellas are patiently made with care that takes several processes.  If you want to learn how to make these please head to hand-made umbrellas of Chiang Mai.

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Handmade Bamboo Umbrella: Chiang Mai Thailand

Fancy a DIY hand-made bamboo umbrella? Borsang umbrella making centers are certainly experts on this. Here’s how they do it. Enjoy!

Materials

Softwood for the upper head, lower head, and upper head sleeve
Bamboo for the ribs and strut
Palm leaf stalk for the stem

These parts are assembled to form an umbrella. Then, the umbrella is saturated in an insecticide-solution for a certain period of time. Thereafter, these are fumigated in order to prevent pests and harmful microorganisms from destroying the wood.

 

Paper Making from the bark of mulberry

Botanically named bronssonetia papyrifera, Saa paper is made from the bark of mulberry tree. Initially, the bark is soaked in clean water for about 24 hours. Then it is boiled with several kinds of ashes for about 3-4 hours and rinsed with water.
Next the material is beaten with mallets until tender and thereafter fibers are put into a water-filled tank and stirred with a paddle until the fibers are suspended in the water. The fibers are then sifted with a screen and dried under the sun for about 20 minutes. Once dried, sheets of paper are formed which can be peeled off easily. This is the paper used in double layer to cover the umbrella frame and later painted.

To cover the umbrella

Saa paper or cotton (ramie)
The covering material is pasted onto the umbrella frame by a special mixture of paste and persimmon fruit secretion which helps tense and waterproof the umbrella. This special mixture glues the Saa paper firmly onto the ribs of the umbrella which stays glued sturdily even when wet. This is because of the botanical property of the fruit.

The secretion can be obtained by pounding a certain amount of persimmon fruit in a set of gigantic mortar and pestle. Therafter, they are fermented for a month or two before the secretion is used for the mixture. And Parianri anamese hanee oil mixed with desired color is added to protect the umbrella from weathering effect of the sun and rain.

For coverings pasted onto the umbrella frame by regular glue is good for sun and indoor decorative only.

Hand-made bamboo umbrella painting design

In olden days, there was no design painted on the umbrella. It was only until the last 2 decades, villagers began painting umbrellas. Designs include floral, animal, scenic and nature.
Most painters working in centers have never attended any art school at all. Most of them obtained their painting skill on the job training, practiced and honed this skill while working.

If you happened to be in Chiang Mai, Borsang umbrella centers are a great way to bond with your family for they allow individuals to design their own umbrellas. Find out more about this at family bonding at Borsang umbrella center.

 

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