Beppu Bamboo Basketry
The making of bamboo baskets for sale by travelling peddlers during the Muromachi period (1392-1573), marked the beginnings of this craft.
During the Edo period (1600-1868), the hot-springs of Beppu became well-known throughout the country and bamboo goods used in the preparation of food such as baskets for washing rice, for holding cooked rice and for sieving miso were made to meet the demand from visitors who often stayed some time at the springs either to relax or to benefit from the healing effects of the spring water. As visitors began taking these household items home with them, more and more basketry was made and this simple craft developed into a local craft industry centered on Beppu. The opening of a training establishment in Beppu in 1903 and the large number of fine artists and technicians who graduated from the school formed the foundation of Beppu Take Zaiku as it is today.
The principle variety of bamboo used is madake (Phyllostachys bambusoides) which grows in Oita prefecture and is well suited to basketry. A number of other varieties and types of bamboo are also used including hachiku, kurochiku, gomadake and medake according to the article being made and, using eight fundamental techniques, a vast range of goods is produced fully utilizing the inherent beauty of bamboo as a material. All manner of household goods are still being produced in large quantities and include a bewildering variety of functional basketry as well as some fine pieces of studio craft.
A kind of Bamboo mainly used in Beppu bamboo works is phyllostachys bambusoides, which is vegitated in Oita prefecture and suitable for braiding. Other kind of bamboos (Henon bamboo, black bamboo, Gomadake bamboo, Simon bamboo, etc.) are also used for different purpose. They are combined through 8 basic techniques to create products that sustain the natural beauty of bamboos.
How to make
A bamboo is gradually made into the thickness and width needed for the product after oil-draining, drying, splitting and stripping. There are more than 400 patterns of braiding, whose combination is used to create various products.