Fieldwork On Qingshen Bamboo Weaving Of Sichuan Province, China 06.2017-07.2018


『窝』 , 四川青神县思蒙河岸边连绵成片的慈竹林里, 一场即兴的装置实验。保持其原生状态, 不人为砍伐, 原地活体编, 本土创造对非物质文化遗产在当代社会的复苏进行一次孩童般原生而莽撞的尝试。

The Nest, an improvisational installation art experiment, was performed in a dense bamboo forest alongside the Simeng River of Qingshen County: we kept bamboos in the living state by not cutting them down and then started weaving some unplanned structures and shapes right on them. This is an attempt of BENTU reviving the intangible cultural heritage in contemporary society by engaging such experiment of both originality and recklessness.


Located in the southwest edge of Chengdu Plain in Sichuan Province, Qingshen County is an ancient town where the Minjiang River passing through from north to south, and now it is under the jurisdiction of Meishan City. Given the unique environment of humid climate and fertile soil, acres and acres of bamboo are growing here and generations have passed on surrounded by bamboo for thousands of years. In the 21st century, Qingshen’s Bamboo Weaving Art has been listed as the China Intangible Cultural Heritage and Qingshen County has been known as the historic town of bamboo weaving art.

竹被誉为植物钢铁, 是自然界的一种典型的、 具有良好力学性能的生物体, 是速生型植物, 一年可以成材, 具有原生态的自然美感, 又属于快速再生资源。 青神竹编材料主要选取当地生长的慈竹。 慈竹是青神最主要的竹种, 节稀筒长, 秆纤维韧性强, 是竹编的上乘材料。

Bamboo, known as the plant with iron will, is a typical kind of organism with good mechanical properties. It's a fast-growing plant that can grow into full size within one year. In a word, bamboo is a kind of rapid regeneration resources that contains natural aesthetics of original ecology. The material of tradition bamboo weaving in Qingshen County is a home-grown bamboo with a scientific name called “Neosinocalamus affinis”. Such kind of bamboo has been widely planted in town and considered the superior material for bamboo weaving with its few but long bamboo sections and strong tenacity of fiber in culms.

从天空俯视, 土地是青色的, 农田与竹林覆盖了半个青神。 在这仅二十万总人口小县, 依然有近80%是农村人口, 过快的中国现代化城市建设似乎尚未来得及在这片土地上留下痕迹。 但改变早已悄悄在发生。

Looking down from the sky, farmlands and bamboo forests cover half of the town. Nearly 80% of the 200 thousand total population is still rural, it seems that the rapid construction of modern urbanization nationwide has not yet arrived on this small land. But changes have been quietly undertaking.

经济全球化下日趋激烈的市场同质竞争, 使曾远销海外, 给乡民带来稳定收入的竹编工艺品逐渐失去优势。 面对逐渐萎缩的市场, 只有技巧繁复的竹编作品能制造噱头, 夺得足够的利润,而对经济价值的过度追求又反过来加速竹编手艺的畸形发展。 耗时耗力, 效益不高的竹编手艺对年轻一代亦渐渐失去吸引力。 在“让一部分人先富起来” 的改革开放政策鼓励下, 尝到了物质甜头的青壮年乡民们离开家乡, 奔赴城市打工, 劳动力的外流加剧了竹编手艺传承后继无人的困局。

Bamboo weaving products used to bring steady income to the townees, which is now losing the advantages under the economic globalization with increasingly fierce market competition and product homogenization. Only products of complicated design or fancy skills can create eye-catching selling point and survive in the shrinking market with enough profit, resulting in the abnormal development of bamboo weaving art which is still accelerated by the excessive pursuit of economic value. Moreover, the time-consuming and less profitable bamboo weaving is no longer appealing to the younger generation.Encouraged by the reformed and open policy of "Letting some some regions and some people become rich first”, young and middle-aged townees longing for material wealth left their hometown and went to work in the large cities, bamboo weaving techniques is thus put in a difficult situation of lacking successor by the outflow of labor forces.

青神竹编在新时代的种种脆弱与胶着, 究其根本还是因为过去所根植的农耕文明瓦解, 如何挣脱困局, 再续发展, 还是要回归本质——“农造·窝” 实验, 让青神竹编手艺回到最自然原生的民间日常, 回到民间文化野蛮的生长力。

The vulnerability and stagnation of Qingshen’s Bamboo Weaving Art in the new era are basically a result of the collapse of farming civilization that rooted in the past. So we sought back to the nature, where it origins, for the way to get rid of predicament and continue to develop. The Nest Experiment of Nongzao brings the Qingshen’s Bamboo Weaving Art back to the most natural and original folk life, recurring the primitive vitality of folk culture.


We performed our improvisational experiment in a dense bamboo forest alongside the Simeng River of Qingshen County: we kept bamboos in the living state by not cutting them down and preserving the roots in the depth of land, and then started weaving some unplanned structures and shapes right on the bamboos. 

选取一年生几棵慈竹,活体编织,不动根,原地固定, 限制了工艺的灵活施展, 又因跳出了传统编织观念, 进程缓慢, 不断反复调试,离地三米五,三根丛生,托起一个窝。窝体,置身其间,韧而微晃,自然心喜。

We selected some annual bamboos and began to weave without cutting them down. Root preservation and fixing spots limited the flexible application of technique and unconventional weaving concept slowed down the process. Using three clustered bamboos, we lifted up a nest in the height of 3.5 meters after repetitive adjustments. The nest is pliable but strong. When situating inside and slightly swinging, joy naturally wells up from deep inside.

对于一种传统手工艺, 让我们痴迷与惊喜的是来自农耕文明的“非物质性存在” 及“无形的作用力” 。 实际上, 或的这一切, 都蕴涵在民间。
What traditional handicraft fascinates and surprises us the most is the nonphysical existence and invisible force come from farming civilization, at the same time, all of which are actually contained in the folk .

手记 Editorial Note

刘前兴师傅是我们几经波折才找到的竹编手艺人,居住在青神县长池村。他七岁开始接触竹编,从平面、 立体到混合, 编法全面, 成为青神竹编第一人。 穿梭于竹林中的简单生活造就了刘师傅质朴善良的性格, 骨子里透着四川人“安逸” 的生活追求。 他与大多数土生土长的青神人一样, 因为本土历史, 因为温饱, 因为传统的代代传承, 开始与竹编结缘。 然而在中国改革开放后, 年轻一代因为嫌累、 不赚钱等种种原因纷纷离开了这个行业, 继而转向捕鱼, 甚至离开这个县城, 寻求别的出路。

Mr. Liu Qianxing, a bamboo weaving craftsman took us great effort to find, lives in Changchi Village of Qingshen County. He began to acquire the skill of bamboo weaving when he was 7, and became the real master in Qingshen’s Bamboo Weaving Art after years of weaving practice in plane figure, solid form and combined techniques. Liu is a kind person who maintains a positive attitude towards life, apart from his simple livelihood in the bamboo forests, he is just like any other people in Sichuan, always having this pursuit of leisurely life,which is naturally in their blood. Liu and many other who born and raised in Qingshen County became attached to bamboo weaving because of the local history, means of livelihood and inheritance from generation to generation. However, since the reform and opening-up in China, the younger generation has no longer stuck to bamboo weaving for a variety of reasons, as it’s tiring but making few money. They gradually turn to fishing even leave the county for another way out.


“Love what you do” said Liu, he has never thought of giving up on bamboo weaving even the market is shrinking. Liu acts on what he said by taking recreation of this traditional folk art as his own responsibility, he learns from books, teaches classes, works and creates together with his students, enriches his skills with constantly new challenges. Mr. Lu Jiquan, aged over 70, also participates in protecting this traditional art and technique, as he engaged in conservation for bamboo forests with a deeper feeling for bamboo. Unlike the masters of craft who chasing fame and profit, or the public intellectual and business men who consider as it a tool for making money, it should be remembered that there are still real masters who are unknown to fame, like Liu and Lu, doing what they are obsessed with out of belief and insistence.


We think that we are close to the nature, but we never truly are. When working in the forest the other day, Liu showed us a stone he had found in town, “ This stone looks special, like a cat's eye, or the earth. We can take it back and make something out of it.” said delightedly.The banner hanging in town says “ Clear water brings natural sweet ”, perhaps only those who love life and respect nature can bring natural creation back to its original context.


尺寸: Ø210×H450 / Ø110×H310 cm





Project Information

Project name: Nongzao·The Nest
Creator: Xu Gang, Liu Qianxing, Lu Jiquan, Xu Kaixin
Material: Bamboo (Neosinocalamus affinis)
Year of creation: 2018
Dimension(cm): Ø210×H450 / Ø110×H310


Fieldwork Team

Photography & Video Recording: Wang Xiaowen, Xu Gang
Video Editing: Liu Jie
Music: Xiao He
Text: Xu Gang, Liu Jiaqi, Wang Xiuyin
Translation: Li Zhiqing

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