Rain, Rain, Go Away

23 10 2010

It’s raining in my neck of the woods, hence the theme of today’s post.  This umbrella dates to the 1950s, and blends two areas of influence on design at that time – China and Egypt.  Although the level of impact of each varies greatly (Egyptomania in the 1950s was much rarer than Chinese themes), their combined use perpetuates an age-old Western invention: the “Orient”.  This term was used to describe a conglomeration of all the Eastern countries, which once were not easily accessed by people living on the other side of the globe.  Lack of knowledge of those individual regions, and tales of their exotic materials and animals created an air of mystery that pervaded Western design culture for centuries.  To see that muddled sensibility still referenced in the 1950s, as in this umbrella, when folks were far better educated than their ancestors, is surprising.  Pairing a pagoda shape with an Egyptian print makes as much logical sense as it would to hang flying saucer emblazoned curtains in a log cabin.

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