chiang mai
Chiang Mai
Bosang umbrella village

About half an hour east of downtown Chiang Mai is Bo Sang (Borsarng) umbrella village. Umbrellas are a Thai handicraft, and used for protection from the rain or sun (sunshade).

At the Umbrella Making Center we watched umbrellas being made. First large bamboo is cut into small pieces, then the spokes and string are assembled into a frame. Cloth or paper (two layers) is stretched over the frame, the edges are glued, and sewed tightly. Sunshades have a fringe added. Then the umbrellas are put out into the sun to dry. Last step, it's time to paint a design on the umbrella: elephants, tigers, flowers or dragons.
Kids can purchase an umbrella and have it painted with a design of their choice, or there are also kits of small umbrellas and paints to decorate your umbrella back home. If you want to buy a really big umbrella, have it shipped home.
Down the road at the Bo Sang Handicraft Centre, in addition umbrella making, also see paper making. The paper used in umbrellas is Sa paper, made from the bark of the mulberry tree. The bark is soaked, the fibers broken down, soaked in liquid, then put out in a frame to dry. The beauty of the paper is that the fibers makes a lovely texture for the paper umbrellas.

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