Chinese bamboo craftworks include bamboo engraving and bamboo weaving. The engravings contain bamboo slip, inscribed bamboo board, wall painting, engraved and carved pen container, armrests, yellow bamboo artwork, and bamboo root engraving. Among others, green bamboo carving and yellow bamboo works are the most commonly featured.
Green bamboo carving, also known as flat/skin engraving, is made with the thin green part on bamboo surface. The pattern is painted on surface first, and then the green part not within the pattern is scraped out to expose the bamboo skin beneath. It is a featured craftsmanship of Changzhou, Jiangsu.
Yellow bamboo carving is made from Mao bamboo. The joint and green surface are removed, and thin yellow part is kept for boiling, basking, pressing; when made flat enough, it is glued or embedded on wood body, the body is to be polished, on which figure, landscape and flower and bird pattern are carved.
The processed bamboo, after polished, is flat and smooth in light yellow color, and as fine as ivory. The shape can be different, either round or square, with either edge or angle. Some subjects that were not fully depicted due to constraint of raw materials are now well presented. Figures can be carved vivid in detail, with clothing waving along with wind; bird and flower patterns also are intriguing and look quite appealing. Although the craftsmanship was originated from Jiading, Zhejiang, yet there are excellent craftsmen in Hunan nowadays.
Zhejiang, Suzhou, Hunan and Anhui are bamboo planting areas of China, where bamboo crafts are massively made. Local bamboo variety and difference are the key reasons for different styles of craftworks. Among others, artists of Zhejiang are good at both yellow bamboo crafts and bamboo root engravings; Jiangsu’s artists generally focus more on light bamboo engraving with green part left on surface; while in Anhui and Hunan, deeper and round engravings are more frequently seen.
There are a number of artists engaging in bamboo engraving. However state masters are quite rare. Most engraving artists are able to create with bamboo, however, the part available for creation is quite limited, and more state masters are apt to choose other materials for design and art creation.
With regard to bamboo weaving, Dongyang, Zhejiang is known as the home of wood sculpture and bamboo weaving. Qingshen, Sichuang is another place where massive bamboo weaved products are made. Most of weaved works are practical products like basket, crate, box, gift package, mat, and furniture. However, Mr. He Fuli, state mater of bamboo weaving, is well known for his unique creations. He is not only able to weave fine and pretty basket for fish and shrimp, but also large and highly complicated works including figure of buddha, figure of people, and animals. In addition, he was invited to join the bamboo-weaved furniture restoration project of Forbidden City Palace.