Chinese straw art has been popular in East Asia, where the inhabitants were also engaged in the cultivation of a variety of cereals, attitude to rice grain was similar to European’s to wheat. Nowadays customs associated with the belief in the divine power of grains and straw, are supported in China, Korea and Japan. Straw symbolizes purity, glory, the sun’s energy, knowledge, abundance, happiness and fertility. In the myths rice is a gift of the gods.
In China, the rice grains have been a symbol of protection from evil spirits. The cult of the Mother of Rice in Bali, a figure of which were long (masculine) and short (feminine) sheaves of rice straw – an expression of faith of the peoples of Southeast Asia that stalks of rice, like humans, contain vital energy.
Plaiting. This type of craft is popular in the south and in the north of China. For the manufacture of everyday objects and household items, such as baskets, fruit dishes, screens, doors sheds, vases, straw napkin, hats, mattresses, blankets, carpets and various furniture, used bam beech, rattan, alpine willow, grass stems.
Diverse in appearance and patterns, all of these items are not only necessary to the farm, but also represent a considerable artistic value. Wicker products are made from the stems of wheat in Shandong, Hebei and Henan provinces, from the “gray” wan grass – in Gaoyang and Dunvane (Guangdong ) of yellow and “golden” – in Jiaxiu (Zhejiang Province), from the Chinese alpine willow – in Hunan. Bamboo mainly produced in Dunyane and Shengxian (province Chzhets zyan) in Tsyuanchzhou and Gutyane (Fujian), Jiading (Shanghai), Zigong (Sichuan province). The best products of palm fiber produced in Sinfane (Sichuan Province); Guangdong, Fujian, Guangxi and Yunnan.
All materials used by artisans, mined in the woods, or are waste products, but because due to its low cost, they can be widely used in a variety of crafts. Fan decorated with images of flowers, birds, landscapes, and consist of the number of bamboo strips (they can be up to a thousand), and the very basis of this is painted with an intricate drawing.
Chengdu (Sichuan province) is famous for products that combine two dissimilar materials – porcelain and bamboo. In Zhejiang are made other samples of bamboo weaving: vases, boxes, figures of animals and people. In recent years, the art of weaving developed in Guangxi and Heilongjiang.
The paintings executed by Chinese craftsmen, are made of various materials – grass stems, bark, cork, feathers, horns, rice cuttings. Of widely known are colored bamboo curtains, lacquer and porcelain paintings, prints, splint, silk flowers, velvet, paper garlands, etc.
In recent years, developing such directions of art as paintings of straw, shells, cuttlefish panel, wood chips, cotton yarns, wool. Wheat stalks, bark, shells and fish bones – all materials that are easily mined locally. And in the hands of talented artists this natural “junk” miraculously turns into a landscape, human figures, birds, animals, flowers, fish, etc.