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

Examination, before conservation

Examination, before conservation

Kate Gill supporting the lining

Kate Gill supporting the lining

Parasol, after conservation on display mount

Parasol, after conservation on display mount