Bamboo Culture in Asia
Bamboo and Stone by Guan Daosheng
The origin of the word ‘bamboo’ is clouded in uncertainty. All we know for certain is that the word first appeared in English in the Sixteenth Century and was brought from Asia by the Portuguese, maybe from Sumatra and maybe from Southern India.
All over the world bamboo is resonant with cultural significance. It is often found in creation myths. In this article, however, I’m going to confine myself to looking at bamboo in the milieu of Asian culture.
Bamboo is resilient and strong, it bends and doesn’t break. This makes bamboo an important symbol for strength and durability.
A famous Vietnamese saying goes, “When the bamboo is old, the bamboo sprouts appear.” It is clear that bamboo refers here to Vietnam which can never be destroyed because as one generation weakens and ages a new generation appears to take its place. For this reason traditional Vietnamese villages are surrounded by thick bamboo as a constant reminder of the permanence of the Vietnamese nation.
This notion of bamboo as a barrier or outer layer is also evident in Japan where bamboo is often found around Shinto shrines. Bamboo is believed to be able to keep out evil.
For the Chinese and the Japanese bamboo is of central importance in traditional culture.
The bamboo, the plum blossom, the orchid and the chrysanthemum are known collectively as the ‘Four Noble Ones’. They represent the four seasons and the four attributes of the noble person in Confucian philosophy. By studying the bamboo the Chinese would school themselves in the Confucian virtues necessary to being a strong, upright and wise person.
Bamboo also belongs to the grouping known as ‘The Three Friends of Winter’. The three friends are bamboo, pine and plum because they do not wither in the cold winter months. Bamboo here is a symbol of resilience.
The Lord Krishna with a bamboo flute
- Health Benefits of Far Infrared Rays
A look at bamboo charcoal and far infrared rays.
- Bamboo Charcoal Cooking
About using bamboo charcoal for cooking for.
- Why Bamboo Charcoal Soap with Activated Carbon is better than Other Soaps
Bamboo charcoal soap with activated carbon is simply the best soap you can buy.
- Korean Bamboo Blinds
More has been written about Chinese and Japanese bamboo blinds than about Korean bamboo blinds. This is somewhat unfair because making bamboo blinds is a very old tradition in Korea.
- Green Gift Ideas
It is often not easy to find a great present for a friend or family member. It seems there is so much choice and yet nothing really stands out. So why not try to buy earth-friendly products this year for the special people in your life?
- A Comparison between Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring and Cork Flooring
Both strand woven bamboo flooring and cork flooring are sustainable flooring types because they are made from renewable resources. This post will compare these two types of flooring.
- Why You Should Buy Oak Reclaimed Flooring
Oak trees are become rarer and rarer. Because trees of the Quercus genus are so useful, beautiful and strong they are too prized. Oak trees are being rapidly depleted around the world.
- Before You Buy a Hardwood Floor Consider This
Before you buy a hardwood floor you should consider the future health of the planet. Every second an acre and a half of rainforest is cut down. In 40 years there will be no rainforests left. Rainforests are...
- Totally Bamboo Cutting Board is on the cutting edge of the Green Revolution
Bamboo is an amazing thing. Contrary to popular opinion it is not a wood, it is a grass; and yet bamboo is a very strong material. You can use bamboo to construct houses. Bamboo is sometimes used instead of...
- Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring
All about Strand woven bamboo flooring. Stronger than oak but 50% cheaper. The perfect alternative to hardwood flooring.