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Use and history of bamboo: evolution from ancient times to modern times


Bamboo, like wood and stone, has been used for a variety of purposes since ancient times. Its history dates back to the Jomon period. Jomon-style pottery with wickerwork marks on the bottom has been excavated, and Rantaishikki, a woven bamboo vessel coated with lacquer, has been unearthed from the Korekawa Ruins in Aomori Prefecture. doing. Due to the nature of bamboo, which rots easily, very few bamboo crafts used as daily life tools remain, but the many bamboo crafts housed in Shosoin indicate that a variety of things were made from them, and along with that, many bamboo crafts were made. It can be seen that technology has also developed.

Source: Public Relations Office HP, Rotei Lacquerware

After that, bamboo crafts with their own characteristics developed in various parts of Japan. Takayama Chasen from Nara Prefecture, Suruga Takesensujizaiku from Shizuoka Prefecture, Katsuyama Bamboo Craft from Okayama Prefecture, and Beppu Bamboo Craft from Oita Prefecture are designated as traditional crafts.

History of bamboo baskets: Iizuka Rokansai sublimated into art

The history of bamboo baskets has evolved along with the evolution of manufacturing technology. Early bamboo baskets were primarily practical tools for transporting harvested crops. However, over time, its beauty and delicacy were appreciated and it began to have artistic value. The design of a bamboo basket is greatly influenced by the skill and sensibility of its maker. For example, Iizuka Rokansai, a bamboo craftsman who was active from the Taisho to the Showa periods, elevated bamboo baskets to the level of works of art. He took advantage of bamboo's cleanliness and coolness, as well as its characteristic knots, and created beautiful shapes. The design of bamboo baskets also changes depending on their purpose. For example, a bamboo basket for arranging flowers must have a design that harmonizes with the flowers. On the other hand, strength and durability are important for bamboo baskets used to transport harvested crops.

Source: Works of Waraku HP Iizuka Rokansai

Bamboo types: 3 notable types including black bamboo

Bamboo is known for its beauty and diversity, but here are three types of bamboo that are especially noteworthy. Each has its own characteristics and benefits and is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and life.

1. Black bamboo

As its name suggests, black bamboo is a type of bamboo that is characterized by its beautiful black stems. When mature, the stems turn jet black and are often used for garden and interior decoration due to their beauty. It is also valued as a material for furniture and crafts because of its hardness and durability.

2. Madake

Madake is the most common type of bamboo in Japan, and its height can exceed 20 meters. Due to its strong and flexible properties, it has been used as a building material and as a material for musical instruments. In particular, traditional Japanese musical instruments such as the shakuhachi and shinobue are made from madake.

3. Mousouchiku

Moso-chiku is a type of bamboo that grows rapidly, and because of its rapid growth, it is attracting attention as an environmentally friendly material. Due to its strength and flexibility, it is also used in furniture, paper products, and even as food.

Incorporate bamboo into your life

The use of bamboo is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and life due to its beauty and practicality. Bamboo baskets bring richness to our lives with their simple yet beautiful designs.

Although we live in an age where we can enjoy things and things anywhere, we believe that there are hints to enriching our lives by learning about Japan's ancient aesthetic sensibilities and ways of living. In addition to disseminating information about towns, architecture, crafts, and food that are connected to Japan's ancient aesthetic sensibilities, we also operate a select shop that focuses on handicrafts. If you are interested, please check the select shops as well.

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