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amoy magic guide to xiamen guide to fujian bamboo craftsman traditional bamboo crafts China FuzhouThe Beauty of Bamboo
Poe
tic & Practical
Dr. Bill,

The Chinese invented practically everything under the sun but they had an unfair advantage in 4th century B.C. when they came up with deep-well drilling for natural gas. China had bamboo, which has a higher tensile strength than steel and is stronger when wet. The West had nothing to compare with it. (Though we did use bamboo to our our advantage in 550 A.D., when Nestorian monks smuggled silkworms out of China in bamboo tubes).

Centuries ago, Jesuit priests wrote that bamboo was used in over 600 products. They vary from shirts and shoes to pillows, furniture, dishes, scaffolds, bridges, piers, houses, pens, hats, rakes, musical instruments, kitchen utensils and chopsticks, dust pans and brooms, drain pipes, irrigation pipes and tobacco pipes, back scratchers, (“not call man” in Chinese), fishing poles and rafts, pig baskets, cradles, toys, fences, gates, rope, screens, flour mills, hen coops, bird cages, lanterns, knitting needles, and curtains. Japan’s famous paper umbrellas are adapted from early Fujian umbrellas made from fine bamboo frames.

Square bamboo it grows this way naturally! Bamboo is as palatable as practical when the shoots are stir-fried or pickled--or raw, if one happens to be a panda.; (Wuyi and Ningde have square-bamboo! That would sure guarantee a square meal for pandas!).

An ancient story tells of Meng Zong, whose sick mother wanted bamboo shoots out of season. As the filial son wept in despair, bamboo shoots suddenly sprouted before him. Chinese still quote the proverb “Meng Zong Moved Heaven.”
Bamboo is part of the heart and soul of China. As one poet wrote, “Better to live without meat than without bamboo.” Bamboo is not just practical and palatable but poetic. Chinese see in this giant grass such traits as chastity, honesty, gentleness and, most importantly, humility. The bamboo is strong but hollow and empty, as a “humble man is not filled with his own importance.”Bamboo on mountainsides looks like giant brushes painting clouds on the sky

The ancients inscribed their epic adventures and poems upon strips of bamboo until someone learned how to pound bamboo pulp into the highly prized white bamboo paper. While undergoing bamboo papermaking’s 72 steps, reverent workers eat white tofu to insure the paper’s purity, and fastidiously avoid saying words like ‘black’ or ‘bump,’ lest the paper become spotted or lumpy.

While Fujian has long been famous for tea, bamboo has been the persistent money maker, but times are changing. In Fuzhou’s old downtown area I came across the shop of Ms. He, a fourth generation bamboo craftsman. She was perched on a bamboo stool in the middle of the sidewalk fashioning a basket from strips her husband had split off a one of the poles stacked in the shop’s corner.
amoy magic guide to xiamen, guide to fujian, bamboo baskets, bamboo, anxi, bamboo craftsman I could have spent hours watching those strong but deft hands that have created steamers, bookshelves, and rocking chairs that could charm a dragon to sleep. But Ms. He complained, “I’m probably the last generation to do this. It’s hard work, it’s hard on the fingers, and we don’t make much money at it.”
“But your bamboo products are so beautiful,” I said.amoy magic guide to xiamen guide to fujian, fujian adventure, bamboo crafts, woodcrafts, longyan, changting
“Doesn’t matter,” she said. “Nowadays everyone wants modern plastic and shiny metal, even though bamboo is natural, more durable, and costs about the same.”

She had a point. While bamboo articles are still common in the countryside, the only city people who use bamboo furniture and utensils are those who can’t yet afford the modern but soulless alternatives. No wonder it’s getting harder to find craftsmen who take pride in producing bamboo articles so practical they have changed but little over the past 2,000 years.

Bamboo will always be a part of Chinese culture, literature and arts, but we need to remember that this most versatile gift of nature is as practical as it is poetic—especially in an age that must emphasize ecologically sound and renewable resources. guide to xiamen, guide to fujian, bamboo crafts, bamboo shoots, bamoo shoots  are tasty

In American tourist attractions like colonial Jamestown and Williamsburg, tourists watch traditional craftsman at work, and eagerly buy their wares. Perhaps Chinese cities could also sponsor traditional craftsman in tourist areas to help preserve China’s valuable but vanishing heritage.

TRAVEL LINKS Hakka Earthen architecture Favorite Fujian Sites Photographs of Fuhken places like Zhangzhou, Longyan, Ningde, Sanming, Wuyi MountainFujian Foto Album AmoyMagic-- Travel , Resident and Business Guide to Xiamen and FujianXiamen Gulangyu Kulangyu Kolongsoo Kolongsu KulongsuGulangyu Guide to Fukien Fuhken Fujian Guides Mystic Quanzhou -- the fabled port of Zayton ( or Zaytun Zaitun Zaiton ) from which Marco Polo sailed,  Sinbad the Arab visited.  ChinchewQuanzhou Zhangzhou  changchow Zhangzhou Longyan Yongding Liancheng Changting Amoy Tigers LianchengLongyan Wuyi Mountain Guide Zhuxi  tea Wuyi Mtn Ningde Taimu Mountain ZhouningNingde Putian Fujian Xianyou Mazu TemplePutian Sanming Scenic Wonderland Mingxi Gem bed rubies Sanming
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Hakka Earthen architecture Taimu Mtn. Hakka Earthen architecture Roundhouses Fujian covered wooden bridgesBridges Hakka Earthen architecture Jiangxi Hakka Earthen architecture Guilin Help Build an online  community for foreigners.  Join the Xiamen Guide forumOrder Books
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