The Conservation of a Chinese Ceremonial Parasol


The parasol comprises a series of embroidered silk bands, and is further embellished with two streamers and a knotted fringe. The full lining is of orange cotton. The stand and frame have not survived.

Client brief/Role of object

The parasol is part of a company archive collection. The brief was to prepare the parasol for storage and display, including the design and fabrication of a purpose designed museum quality mount.

Condition before treatment

Overall poor, with aspects of extreme vulnerability; severe creasing due to complex construction; open display; failure of couching threads; lack of support stand and frame.


Following surface cleaning, creases and distortions were reduced by humidification treatments; loose threads were realigned and stitch-supported onto silk patches; more vulnerable areas were protected with overlays of semi-transparent fabric.

Condition after treatment

The parasol appears brighter as a result of cleaning; creases have been relaxed; embroidered surfaces are less vulnerable; the weight of the 3-D parasol has been redirected onto mount and the support fabrics. The parasol’s original shape and design can now be fully appreciated.

Storage/display mount

A circular support mount was constructed to fit inside the top panel of the parasol. The parasol mount rests on a hollow circular upright of Perspex™.


Reproduced courtesy of Aviva Group Archive and the Textile Conservation Centre, University of Southampton. Textile Conservation Centre, University of Southampton © 2009. [TCC 2704]

Kate Gill, TCC project manager and conservator

Treatment completed 2003