Bamboo in China, a history rich in meaning

There are hundreds of species of bamboo growing mainly in South and East Asia. Along with wood, stone, sand, clay and animal materials, bamboo is one of the very first materials worked by early man. The development of civilization is closely related to the development of a skill in the use of these materials. Like woodworking, bamboo working has contributed to an incredible diversity of uses in many fields.

The gentleman

In Chinese culture, bamboo, flowering mume plum, orchid, and chrysanthemum (known as méi lán zhú jú ) are part of what are called the "Four Gentlemen." These four plants also represent the four seasons, and to which are attributed particular qualities. Bamboo is one of them.

Bamboo plays such an important role in traditional Chinese culture that it is even considered a model of gentlemanly behavior. With its natural characteristics such as rightness, tenacity and hollow heart, people attribute qualities ofintegrity, elegance and simplicity to this plant.

Countless poems, written by ancient Chinese poets, praise bamboo. They actually speak metaphorically of people who exhibited these characteristics. According to the laws, Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Bai Juyi (772-846), to be a gentleman a man need not be physically strong, but he must be mentally strong, upright, and persevering. Just as a bamboo has a hollow heart, he must open his heart to accept anything beneficial and never be arrogant or prejudiced.

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A thousand-year-old use

Ancient Chinese bamboo texts tell medical history - The Archaeology News Network

The use of bamboo in China in the Neolithic era is well established, the Chinese are among the earliest civilizations to have used bamboo. The culture of bamboo and its applications have played an important role in the development of Chinese civilization from prehistoric times to the present. Archaeological evidence of Chinese use of bamboo dating back to the Neolithic era has been discovered. Around 6000 BC, bamboo patterns were used to decorate Neolithic pottery from the Yangshao culture.

In prehistoric China, bamboo was used for many purposes, including making tools, cooking utensils, fans, rafts and writing instruments.

Bamboo in modern manufacturing

Training on bamboo and rattan for Belt and Road- INBAR

There are in China about 300 species of bambooIt is the longest bamboo trail in the world, covering nearly 32,000 km. The Chinese appreciate bamboo because it is a material strong and flexible. Bamboo is used to make a wide variety of everyday items, including scaffolding and real houses. Its use in industry is still low, yet its rapid growth and its ability to capture CO2 make it a remarkable ally of sustainable development. The use of bamboo for the manufacture of everyday objects could meet major environmental challenges such as deforestation.

His qualities as a gentleman (integrity, elegance and simplicity) are reflected in the modern objects made of bamboo.

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