The bamboo over porcelain is the essence of the heritage of Chinese folk crafts. It is a kind of bamboo wares that are made of countless fine bamboo threads and woven on the porcelain. The art combines porcelain and bamboo weaving. It is on behalf of the profound historical culture of Chinese arts and crafts. Porcelains are the special products of China’s culture and traditional handicrafts. The plum of blossom, orchid, bamboo, chrysanthemum is known as four gentlemen in Chinese classic literature. In traditional Chinese art, bamboo stands for moral integrity and uprightness. Therefore, the bamboo weaving process, one of the traditional crafts, makes the bamboo as raw materials to weave various patterns into amazing handicrafts. The bamboo over porcelain with its exquisite craftsmanship, together with filament silver hovering art, lacquerware, and Shu embroidery, is known as the four famous traditional handicrafts and has also become a cultural and artistic business card. Here are more details about this unique technology.
1.The origin of the bamboo over porcelain.
The founder was Zhang Guozheng who created the bamboo weaving process in the Qing Dynasty. At first, people put bamboo slices on the outside of the ceramics to prevent shattering. As time went by, people pursued finer bamboo threads. The combination of these things made the basketwork on porcelain. The bamboo weaving process is based on the porcelain of Jingdezhen. After selecting the porcelain, craftsmen get started on weaving the special coat for it. The tiny bamboo sticks are soft and weak but can play a particular role in decoration and protection, while the porcelain body plays a role in containing and supporting. With the support of the porcelain body, the tiny bamboo sticks can be free from the constraints of stress so that they can pay more attention to beauty.
Zhang Guozheng also improved the inner body and selected the porcelain of Jingdezhen as the main body to produce the bamboo over porcelain that we now see. This is a sublimation of the ancient bamboo weaving process from practical goods to handicrafts. Most of the bamboo over porcelain were tea sets at the beginning and gradually developed into vases, wine sets, coffee sets, jewelry boxes, smoking sets, stationery, etc. And the material of the body is not limited to porcelain, as well as glass, metal, lacquerware, etc.
2.The development process of the bamboo over porcelain.
In 1915, Zhang Guozheng’s bamboo over porcelains represented China for the first time to go abroad and participated in the Panama Expo in the United States and finally, he won a silver medal, and the “Oriental Art Flower” reputation. In modern times, due to expensive raw materials, difficult technical inheritance, wars, and other reasons, the technology of bamboo over porcelains was lost gradually. In the mid-1950s, the government strongly supported folk crafts, and bamboo over porcelains was active in the public’s sight.
Until the 1980s and 1990s, bamboo over porcelains, as a traditional handicraft, has won wide recognition and praise for its unique artistic aesthetic value. In the late 1990s, due to the limited practical value of bamboo over porcelains, the craftsman’s methods of working were relatively simple. In addition to it, there was not an industry of bamboo over porcelain and a complete industrial chain. Besides, with the lack of market publicity, the bamboo over porcelains were going downhill step by step.
After a hundred years of ups and downs, the bamboo over porcelains finally got a solution to deal with the predicament. On the basis of retaining the artistic quality of the bamboo weaving process, the craftsmen improved the quality of the porcelain bodies. From the perspective of practical application, they have designed what is truly suitable for the industry of tea, and have gotten praise from customers. In 2008, bamboo over porcelain has been the list of national intangible cultural heritage. The bamboo over porcelains is only produced in Sichuan Province. With their unique commemorative and characteristics, they become the preferred tourist souvenirs for Chinese and foreign guests.
3.Materials and skills of the bamboo over porcelain.
Generally speaking, the bamboo over porcelains are made of high-quality bamboos that are smooth and spotless for two to three years. And the bamboo is required to be free of scars and marks. The craftsman will scrape the green skin out of the bamboo, and cut it into pieces with a knife, and then dry them. Then craftsmen select materials, baking, sewing, thinning, scraping, softening, dyeing, and so on. Actually, there are other dozen processes. Finally, the craftsmen process these bamboo slices into uniform bamboo silk and dye these bamboo silks with a different color. Therefore, people finish the part of preparing raw materials and pick up high-quality porcelains as the main bodies, such as the ceramics of Jingdezhen, Chaozhou, Yixing, and so on. The next step is to weave the bamboo over porcelains. Bamboo weaving processing has various styles and features with lots of local characteristics, which is very popular among people.
When making bamboo over porcelains, people take porcelains in their arms and weave layer by layer with selected bamboo silks. Starting, turning, weaving, and locking… The bamboo threads are turned back and forth in the hands of craftsmen. All procedures require that there is no joint between bamboo filaments, and no technical errors, such as twisted filaments and stacked filaments, and always keep the warp. The proportion of length and width is well-calculated, which can give people a sense of completeness. Slender bamboo filaments are transformed into finished products of various patterns in the hands of craftsmen. It seems that they can enjoy the fragrance of the bamboo when they touch the products carefully.
Over time, thanks to the great efforts and the collective wisdom of generations, the bamboo over porcelains have gradually changed from folk daily necessities to exquisite artworks. The bamboo over porcelains is famous for diversified technologies, unique shapes, and beautiful patterns. The products of the bamboo over porcelains have practical value and aesthetic value, that is to say, artistic value. First of all, the practical value is derived from the nature of folk crafts. The practical value is found in common people’s labor.
Art imitates life. The bamboo over porcelain belongs to the laborers and derives from the deep roots. And people can be free from modern constraints and enjoy a cozy world with the following features, sincerity, loyalty, truth, and affability. These plain feelings are where modem minds return. The slender bamboo threads cling tightly to the surface of the porcelain, forming a tight protective layer. Because the bamboo is resilient, meaning it keeps its shape and strength even under pressure. Therefore, the bamboo threads can play a protective role in the weaving process, that is, to prevent the porcelain from knocking and falling. In addition, the thermal conductivity of bamboo itself is poor. If people touch the porcelain directly with their hands, they are easily burned. Therefore, people add a layer of the safeguard made of bamboo threads to prevent people’s hands from scalds. It is more suitable for contemporary people to satisfy practical needs.
The second is the aesthetic value of bamboo over porcelains. Among the various products of bamboo over porcelains, the most exquisite products are often collected by virtue of high-level aesthetic value, and they can be used and appreciated for the long term. Due to the nature of bamboo threads, craftsmen can design more patterns during the bamboo weaving process. These products of bamboo over porcelains are always round and smooth, giving people a soft feeling.
In addition to it, after many tests, the bamboo over porcelains are mainly round. This represents a sense of harmony and happiness in Chinese history and culture. Generally speaking, bamboo over porcelains have the characteristics of roundness and smoothness. All kinds of exquisite patterns enrich the aesthetic value to bamboo over porcelains. With the continuous development of science and technology, the shapes of porcelains and wonderful patterns are becoming more and more diverse. This is in line with the aesthetic characteristics of modern people. This kind of weaving technique shows people so many artworks. At the same time, it also greatly enhances the aesthetic value of bamboo over porcelains. All of these facts show that bamboo over porcelains has strong social potential.
The economic value of bamboo over porcelains determines its flourishing development in the market. And vice versa. The market potential of bamboo over porcelains can prompt the development of its cultural value. With the advancement of science and the development of technology, the value of bamboo over porcelain gradually increased, but the number of bamboo over porcelain reduces. Because bamboo over porcelains is hard to be produced on a large scale. Hence, it is necessary to increase the speed and quality of production by virtue of the power of technology. Moreover, there is no doubt that the new era provides a favorable publicity platform for bamboo over porcelains.
From the perspective of cultural and economic improvement, people have a strong interest in spiritual products. After the basic material needs are met, more and more people want to be satisfied mentally. The practical value and aesthetic value of the bamboo over porcelains can just meet people’s needs. In daily life, bamboo over porcelains can not only be used as ornaments and collections, but also as real items. In addition to it, the bamboo over porcelains represents a kind of Chinese handmade art. Bamboo weaving processing has a great influence on domestic and foreign markets.
7.Development in the future
Bamboo weaving processing has a long history and culture in China. Its complicated production and exquisite patterns greatly enhance its practical value and artistic value. With the development of social culture, the continuous improvement of people’s aesthetic level and the increasing of cultural demand have led to the popularity of the bamboo over porcelains and other bamboo handicrafts by more consumers and collectors, which makes the amazing masterpiece, the bamboo over porcelains come once again in the forefront of fashion. There seemed to be no doubt about it. It also embodies a fact that the traditional craft has strong market potential. Its market share in the literary and artistic market has gradually increased.
In recent years, bamboo over porcelain has formed a relatively complete industrial chain. On the one hand, craftsmen attach importance to technological innovation, making colors and patterns more exquisite and rich; on the other hand, the government pays more attention to traditional skills. Through the joint efforts of many parties, bamboo over porcelain has been continuously developed and innovative. Now it has achieved remarkable results.
Generally speaking, young people may give up insisting on learning the bamboo weaving process because of the hard work of learning the difficult technology. Of course, there are other factors affecting the inheritance of the bamboo weaving process. For example, social changes and cultural transmission are two main factors that will exert influence on the future of bamboo over porcelains. Therefore, the government and local organizations began to find some ways to change this dilemma. After all, a new generation of young people is the main force for future market development of bamboo over porcelain. After a series of investigations, people think it is a good method of combining the bamboo weaving industry with local tourism. In this way, it not only can prompt local tourism and economic development but also attracts more people to pay attention to this traditional technology.
As we all know, from the perspective of art and culture, bamboo over porcelains has important research value. Now more and more scholars would like to do research about this meaningful topic. It is a good phenomenon. Besides this, the more people’s pursuit of spiritual culture, the more popular products of bamboo over porcelains will be. We believe that sooner or later, the bamboo weaving process will form a unique brand awareness. After all, the wonderful weaving skills have carried the Chinese people’s closeness and affection for the bamboo for thousands of years. This not only represents the inheritance of a cultural gene but also represents a yearning for natural life in a new era.