There are a lot of miraculous traditional handicrafts in China. Among them, bamboo weaving show us a unique fascination. Today, I’ll introduce this amazing artworks to you. Do you interest it？
What is bamboo weaving?
Bamboo weaving is a form of bamboo working and a craft of China. It involves manipulating bamboo into various traditional knit and woven patterns to create both useful and decorative objects.In China the Bamboo Waving Art obviously doesn’t limit itself to rain hats, known as the Red Army Hat because of being adopted by the Red Army during World War II. The product range is actually very wide, and items are classified according to their form and function. Some examples include baskets, trays, jars, boxes, cases, vases, folding screens, models of animals and figures, buildings, furniture, lamps and lanterns, bags, toys, fans and mats. Some are graceful pieces of art for decoration or enjoyment and some are indispensable commodities.
China is rich in bamboo resources and has a long history of using and planting bamboos. The history of bamboo weaves can be even traced back to the Neolithic Age (around 6000 BC).By the Warring States period, many types of bamboo wares have been found, such as boxes and bowls. During the Qin and Han dynasties, new types of bamboo wares such as mats and curtains. A notable example from this period would be bamboo weaving patterns represented in bronze from a chariot found in the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang. By the Tang and Song dynasties, bamboo weaving had expanded beyond practical objects and into creation of toys. During the middle Ming dynasty, bamboo weaving was mostly used for boxes and storage containers. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, efforts have been made by the government to encourage and preserve the cultural history and skill of bamboo weaving, awarding titles to particularly accomplished masters of the craft, as well as designating some regions as recognized for their long history of practicing the art. Anji County is particularly important to the production of bamboo crafts due to both the great variety and quantity of bamboo grown, and a high concentration of history and expertise in bamboo crafts.
Nowadays Sichuan Province, Hunan and Hubei Provinces, as well as Zhejiang Province are well-known for their distinctive bamboo products and bamboo weaving products, some of which are highly decorative. And Dongyang, Chengzhou in the Zhejiang province, and Yiyang in the Hunan province are the most famous places for bamboo weaving products
The products often varies according to place of production. For example animal models are characteristic of Shengxian in Zhejiang province, woven surrounds for porcelain articles are from Chengdu and famous fans come from Zigong, Sichuan Province.
Two kinds of bamboo splits used for weaving:
- Bamboo threads, whose thickness and width are approximately equal. They are mostly used for making articles such as baskets, boxes, bottles, jars and dolls, which are woven from the base upwards. After the base is finished the weaving continues spirally upwards.
- Bamboo strips, which are broad and extremely thin. They are used for making bamboo mats and curtains, which are usually woven from the middle outwards to the borders and corners. Some products like lamps and hats are weaved over a mold.
Besides splitting, the bamboo goes through other procedures, for example, boiling is required to finalize the shape, soften the thin strips and avoid cracking. The strips also go through a plane to ensure the same thickness and through a conduit to ensure the same width. Finally, according to the design, there might be also procedures like dyeing, plating and polishing.
Representative bamboo weavings in China
- Dongyang bamboo weaving
Dongyang is rich in bamboo and its conditions are favorable for the bamboo weaving industry. Bamboo weaving in Dongyang was especially strong during the Song Dynasty. With dragon lanterns, flower lanterns, and revolving lanterns being made there, it has a reputation as “the hometown of bamboo weaving”.
Dongyang bamboo weaving is used to make more than twenty products, including baskets, plates, bags, boxes, bottles, jars, and furniture. Animals woven from bamboo include chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, and dogs, among others.
- The “incense burner cabinet”, using more than 30 techniques, and assisted with the bamboo carving, engraving, and gilding. The technique was exquisite, and the piece was displayed in Beijing at the Zhejiang Hall of the Great Hall of the People. It was later shown in the USA, Japan, and Hong Kong, among other locations.
- The “Nine-Dragon Screen”, won the golden cup of the Chinese Arts and Crafts Hundred Flowers Awards and was appointed a treasure of the state.
Currently, there are twenty-one major Dongyang bamboo weaving products, and more than 3,000 assortments of goods are sold in over 60 countries and regions worldwide.
- Shengzhou bamboo weaving
Shengzhou bamboo weaving products, enjoy great fame at home and abroad. Here, laborers used various and plentiful local bamboo with dexterous hands and wove simple, unadorned, pragmatic, square-bottomed bamboo baskets more than 1600 years ago. Twelve kinds of products, including baskets, sets, bottles, boxes, jars, byobus, animals, buildings, personages, furniture, toys, and lamps are made, along with more than 6,000 assortments. Product quality is the best in the entire nation, and received the golden cup medal of the Chinese Arts and Crafts Hundred Flowers Awards in 1982, continuing its tradition of winning the golden cup for seven years. In 1989, Shengzhou bamboo weaving won the gold award in the first Beijing international exposition.
Traveling merchants at home and from abroad appreciate the products, which are very competitive in the international market. They are praised as “the first bamboo weavings in China and in foreign countries”
- Daijia bamboo weaving
The Dai family is good at bamboo weaving. If you have the chance to be a guest in Daixiang, you will enter into a bamboo-weaving world when stepping into the pleasingly unconventional bamboo building. Everything, including the walls, the carpet, seat cushions, interior display furniture articles for daily use, a wardrobe, a small mess lunch box, a stool, a summer hat, a rain hat, small baskets carried on the back, are made from bamboo weaving. The numerous bamboo weaving handicrafts are simple and unsophisticated, with an attractive and pragmatic look and of the best quality. Cinnabar is used on the inside, and gold lacquer on the outside. Printout peacock feathers line ornaments and have inlaid a five-color glazed pattern. The piece, beautiful and imposing, is offered as a sacrifice in Buddhist temples.