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Weaving the wonder of bamboo

By Li Yingxue | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-23 07:53

Qian Lihuai's bamboo weaving Inception.CHINA DAILY

Qian Lihuai and Joint Lab twist tradition to craft concoctions that delight visitors and institutions alike, Li Yingxue reports.

In the China Pavilion at the sixth China International Import Expo in Shanghai, a piece of bamboo art resembling a Taihu Lake Stone was the center of attention.

It perfectly combined traditional craftwork with natural art, and demonstrated the beauty of the "thinness, perforations, convolutions and transparency" of the stone after which it was modeled.

What impressed the visitors most was that the "stone" was actually made entirely from bamboo.

It was the work of Qian Lihuai, an inheritor of traditional bamboo weaving techniques, a form of intangible cultural heritage from Zhejiang province.

Qian spent two months on the Taihu Lake piece. With no preexisting example to model it on, he had to start from scratch.

Following tradition while still innovating, and demonstrating the evolution of this traditional art, infusing it with fresh vitality, Qian has won a number of awards, and his works have been widely collected through exhibitions at home and abroad.

Rarely has anyone elevated the weaving of bamboo to such an art form, but Qian sees in the material boundless possibilities for artistic expression.

"I've always thought of bamboo weaving as a kind of brush to illustrate the world," he explains, adding that he has studied calligraphy and painting from an early age.

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