Weaving the wonder of bamboo

Updated: Nov 24, 2023 By Li Yingxue China Daily Print
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Another example of his work The Taihu Lake Stone exhibited at the China Pavilion at the sixth China International Import Expo.CHINA DAILY

Born in Wuzhen in Zhejiang, the 38-year-old has a unique bond with bamboo and whether it's in the form of indoor bamboo bonsai or backyard bamboo groves, the material is an essential element in his home.

Qian grew up in the village known for its bamboo weaving and after studying industrial design at the Zhejiang University of Science and Technology, he began to develop an interest in the technique, learning how to do it himself.

He also traveled widely in Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces to learn local bamboo weaving techniques.

"The variations are quite substantial across the regions, and bamboo weaving comes in a wide array of forms. It's sometimes used to make agricultural tools, sometimes to make daily necessities, and sometimes for artistic purposes," Qian says.

"In Wuzhen, each locality focuses on producing a specific item. For instance our village's specialty is in making bamboo trays exclusively for rearing silkworms."

During a visit to a traditional basket maker in Shengzhou, Zhejiang, Qian saw that instead of using nails to fasten the basket together, the craftsman used a slanting cut on the bamboo to create a precise fit that rendered the joint virtually imperceptible.

"I rarely encounter such a level of craftsmanship. He even creates small molds and modifies tools himself to refine the weaving process," Qian says.

During his visits, he was moved by the dedication of the weavers to their craft. These experiences inspired him to return to his hometown of Wuzhen and throw himself into the bamboo weaving industry in 2013.

At first, Qian devoted a substantial amount of time to streamlining the production process, meticulously standardizing this handmade craft.

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