Archives for posts with tag: bamboo

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L150xDIA25, China

This beautiful brush is made for cleaning the inside of the teapot.  I am in love with the bamboo handle so I am using it for dusting my keyboard etc, but for the tea connoisseur it is an essential item for up keeping the teapot.

The brush is used to remove any small pieces of tea leaves, for picking up the moisture left in the pot.  For cleaning the hard to get to places and to give a slight polish to the pot.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAL330xW220xH30mm, China

The leave fell onto the bamboo folders just as we were taking photos of them.
The colour cannot be better matched!

Amongst the unique pottery, you will also find Mountain Folkcraft’s collection at the Cobo Ceramic Workshop X’mas Sale.

COBO CERAMIC WORKSHOP
1/F Fortune Court, 33 Morrison Hill Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

5 – 9 Dec 2014 (Fri – Tue)
13:00-20:00

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Small – L290xW170xH180mm
Medium – L350xW200xH260mm,
Large – 420xW260xH300, China

A bamboo basket constructed by large bamboo strips rather then the weaving method.
This gives the basket a much bolder and simplistic style.

Amongst the unique pottery, you will also find Mountain Folkcraft’s collection at the Cobo Ceramic Workshop X’mas Sale.

COBO CERAMIC WORKSHOP
1/F Fortune Court, 33 Morrison Hill Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

5 – 9 Dec 2014 (Fri – Tue)
13:00-20:00

bamboo ladleDIA120xL360mm, China

Before there are plastic or stainless steel drainers, the one made with bamboo is a household item.  Bamboo is a faster growing plant, a material that was employed in most household objects; chairs, sieves, baskets etc.  The technique of bamboo weaving became a special craft in China and Japan alike, but with the arrival of newer material such as plastic, the craft of bamboo weaving is becoming a dying art.

The bamboo strainer is perfect for making noodles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAW290xL310xH40mm, China

The Chinese chess is a popular game since the Warring State period 1600BC and today major tournaments are held across China and it is a major past time for many.

The character of the chess resembles different roles in the military and have their own rule in movement.  Unlike western chess, the pieces are placed on the nodes rather than the square itself

  • General – 將 / 帥 (restricted in the middle “palace” 9 nodes except when executing the flying attack at the other general)
  • Advisors –  仕 on either side of the general (restricted in the palace and can only move in a diagonal fashion)
  • Elephants – 相 / 象, protectors of the general (restricted on their own side of the board which is separated by the river in the middle, moves in a 2 nodes diagonal (田 field) but the first diagonal point has to be cleared)
  • Horses – 馬 (moves in an elongated diagonal (日 sun))
  • Chariots – 車, a powerful piece (move in a vertical or horizontal straight line and more restricted to one node at a time.
  • Cannons – 砲 (move as the same way as the Chariots, it require another piece as a spring board for taking down opponent’s pieces)
  • Soldiers – 卒 / 兵 (can only advance and no retreat, once on the enemy’s side it can move side ways)

From these rules, and the popularity of the game, there are some idioms basing on the game of chess.

  • 過河卒 – “the soldier that crossed the river” – point of no return
  • 卒子過河當車使 – “soliders across the river can be used as chariots” – even minute, it can be very effective
  • 事急馬行田 – “urgent! the horse will need to across the field” – normally, the horse moves in a 日 sun fashion and the elephant in a 田 field, but being so desperate the horse will need to forfeit its usual move and do the field.
  • 放馬後炮 –  “putting the cannon behind the horse” – a powerful move, the horse enters the opponent’s palace and restricting the general from moving to either side, then the cannon come in and checkmate.  the idiom refers to those comments after checkmate.
  • 飛象過河 – “elephant fly across the river” – as the elephant is forbidden to cross the river, it refers to those who dont follow the rules.
  • 棄車保帥 – “forfeit the chariot to save the general” – making sacrifices to avoid a total loss

bellW300xD140xH350mm, Thailand

There is a long history for domesticated elephant in Thailand; with the strength the elephants can offer, they are captured from the wild and trained (a bit like the domestication of horses and dogs).  The white elephants were offered to the King and worshiped, some were trained to be fighting elephants, as the one used by Queen Suriyothai’s carrier in the war with the Burmese in 1548AD.  Others were trained to be laborers for the forestry, pulling logs from the mountain down to the river.  To track the elephants, bells were put around their neck so they can be heard in the forest.

Here is a Thai folk tale about a boy and an elephant bell.

Once upon at time, there is a poor boy despite of his lack of education he was taught the virtue of respect.  One day the boy was lost in the forest,  he wandered fearfully and came face to came with a full grown elephant.  The huge elephant was strolling peacefully munching banana and other fruits.  Judging by the size of the elephant, the boy thought the elephant must be thousands of years old and must be respected, he kneeled and bowed giving his respect to the animal.  Touched by the act the elephant helped him to find his way home, then the elephant said to the little boy, “Here is a bell given to me by the King of the Elephants, ring it if you are in trouble and the other elephants will come to help you.”  Then one day, the boy and his father were in the forests collecting wood for the fire.  Lighting strike and they became stuck by a fallen tree.  The boy remembered the elephant’s word and rang the bell, soon a herd of elephants came and lift the fallen tree and relieved them.  At the same time, the wild elephant who gave him the bell was captured and being trained as a fighting elephant.  Unsuited to his general temperment, the elephant snapped, killed his mahout trainer and destroyed the village.  The news reached the King and the troops were sent to kill the elephant, when the boy heard the news he volunteer to go to tamed the elephant in exchange for him to be free.  As he entered the village, the elephant charged for an attack.  The boy generally kneel and bowed as he did before, as he rang the bell, the elephant remembered him and came close to him.  The elephant calmed down and followed him to meet with the King who kept his word and the elephant was free.

What we need today is respect for these animals.

Three beautiful films by Gregory Colbert.



bird cageW210xD210xH220mm, China

Birdcages from China can be classified broadly into the northern and the southern type.  This distinction by region can also be seen in the shape of the cages as well; northern birdcages are typically circular with a flat top, known as the Tianjin style, the southern types are cubic in shape with the bottom slightly larger than the top, known as the Suzhou style.  Suzhou is a province with Gangnam, so I guess we can say this is Gangnam Style.

In the old days birds are probably a more common pet for the Chinese than dogs and cats (who has a duty to guard or to catch mice), birds are there just for appreciation.  The birdcages are the habitat, carrier as well as the stage for the birds.  Their light mobility provide the bird with different settings; on the table, hang on the beam, on tree, transported to the teahouse of the park to meet other birds, etc, etc.

A very  sweet film about a bird, though it is cage it is not held captive.  The fledgling was found fallen off its nest and its feather was damaged, unable to fly.  For a few days it was kept in a birdcage for the feather to recover, as if the intention has been understood, the mother came constantly to feed her young in the cage.  Then second video is when the bird was released and successfully flew.


bamboo sculpture DIA100xH400mm, Hong Kong

A bamboo sculpture by the Hong Kong artist Bik Cheun Ha (1925-2009).

He started his career as a craft artisan, for his love of creation he became as self taught contemporary artist.

The Hong Kong Museum of Art featured a retrospective exhibition -“From Common to Uncommon – the Legend of Ha Bik-chuen” in 2011.

bamboo steamer bamboo steamerDIA340xH120mm, China

Food steaming has become one of the way to a healthier lifestyle; food is cooked at 100c over boiling water killing germs and the add of oil is not essential hence avoiding trans fat.  Typically, the steamer would be placed over a wok filled with boiling water, the steam from the water would filled the steamer through the gaps at the bottom, the food would be cooked with all the juices and flavor retained.

It was said that the method was first invented for the Han dynasty army for rejuvenating their dried ration, the steamers can be stacked up to heat up large quantity of food.  The elimination of oil used in this method also made the enemy harder to detect the location of the camp.  However, with archaeological discovery the steamer seems be have appeared long before, to be as far back as the Zhou dynasty, some 2000 year ago.

Tomb cave painting of the Jin dynasty

Unfortunately, though the method lives on with the high tech electrical steamer, the age of the bamboo steamer is on its last legs, their used to be streets filled with artisan making bamboo steamers, now there is only a couple in the city.  It seems like its ancestors, the bronze and the ceramic steamer, the bamboo version is replaced by the stainless steel and the plastic version.

bamboo boxDIA95xH110mm, China

Bamboo is a plant that can be found in most part of China, not only is it a source for food, it is also used from scaffolding for architecture, to delicate weaved containers and nowadays for flooring and even clothing.

This bamboo box, I found is one of those back to the basic ideas.  Making use of the culm (the main shaft) and the nodes (the horizontal structure), a container is naturally form, the fibrous culm gives the box its texture.