Treasure carved in bamboo


By Wang Jie
BEIJING, Dec. 16 — For many people, luxury is about obviously expensive, imported brands of fashion, handbags, shoes, jewelry, watches, automobiles, houses, vacation destinations, costly cuisine and so on.
One dictionary describes “luxury” as: 1) the state of great comfort and extravagant living; 2) an inessential, desirable item that is expensive or difficult to obtain.
Real Chinese luxury can be much more subtle, simple and understated.
In this biweekly series on luxury in China, we explore its varieties and meanings past and present.
Jiading bamboo carving is a gem of Chinese arts and crafts. In 2005, it was listed on the first national catalog of intangible cultural heritage.
The carving work usually includes bamboo tubes, pen containers, perfume tubes, armrests and table ornaments as well as figurines, landscape scenes, flowers and animals carved from bamboo roots.
Its basic techniques feature shallow carving, deep carving, fretwork and round sculpting. Artisans also build calligraphy, painting, short poems, writing and seal-making techniques into their creations, giving these carvings a distinctive regional flavor and originality.
Zhou Jia is owner of Zhu Yun Art Museum, a private museum in Shanghai’s Jiading District. The 600- square-meter museum houses nearly 100 pieces of Jiading bamboo carving from his collection.
“I was born in Jiading, so I have a profound feeling toward Jiading bamboo carving and I am proud of this special art genre,” Zhou says.
Jiading bamboo carving has a history of 400 years, beginning in the Ming Dynasty [db:内容2]