The Newsletter 45 Autumn 2007

The unbearable absence of parasols: the formidable weight of a colonial Java status symbol

Liesbeth Hesselink

<p>You were nobody in colonial Java if you didn&rsquo;t carry a parasol. The payung carried so much weight, in fact, that not only Javanese dignitaries but even Dutch administrators could be seen toting one. You might think someone as necessarily professional as a doctor also carried a payung. But the right to carry one was codified, and only in 1882 was the Westerneducated Indonesian physician, the so called dokter djawa, deemed enough of a somebody to carry one.</p>