One of the British royal family’s official photographers once said that the bamboos of Taiwan were a ‘remarkable feature.’
The News Lens
By: Steven Crook
If you visit Taiwan, you will notice bamboo is used in countless different ways. Bamboo scaffolding is put up when houses are being repaired or repainted. Alongside highways, bamboo poles hold up advertisements. On the southwestern coast, oysters are raised on bamboo frames. Effigies of gods, carried through the streets during folk-religion processions, are held aloft on bamboo palanquins.
In the Taiwan of yore, this type of grass was used to make farmers’ hats; panniers and baskets; pushchairs and babies’ cribs; toys for children; cages for keeping pet birds and taking chickens to market; the yokes attached to water buffalo when they ploughed fields; ladles, cups and other utensils; and even musical instruments such as flutes and xylophones. Even now, the large disks used during marriage rites to shade the bride’s head are invariably made of bamboo.
Many countryside houses built before the 1960s have wattle-and-daub walls. The wattle consists of bamboo slats; the daub is a mix of mud, rice husks and pig dung.
Bamboo furniture is still popular. Workshops that make and sell bamboo stools and chairs can be found throughout Taiwan, even in small towns like Zhushan in Nantou County. Zhushan literally means “bamboo mountain,” so it’s hardly surprising that manufacturing things out of this material used to be a major industry in that part of Taiwan. [FULL STORY]