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Bamboo strips make up happy life for Dai people

Updated:2019-12-20 17:30:18   Yunnan Gateway

In Cangyuan Wa Autonomous County, southwest Yunnan’s Lincang City, there is a Dai village where bamboo is widely used on buildings and daily tools. The villagers love knitting things out of bamboo strips and the craft has been passed down from generation to generation.

He Ying, a resident in the Mengka village, is an inheritor of the bamboo knitting craft. "We earn around 20,000 yuan a year," said He, who learnt bamboo knitting from his father and has also passed the art to his son Feng Zhengming.

The 43-year-old He Ying has been in the bamboo business for more than 20 years, while shifting his focusing on farming seasonally. 

"I learnt the craft in my late teenage days, when my bamboo baskets cost around 2 yuan each," said He Ying, adding the current prices of bamboo baskets range from tens to hundreds yuan.

He Ying first knitted the bamboo tools to ease the family's economic difficulties, but few people came to buy them. As the living standard improves, his prefer handmade baskets are increasingly popular.

Some of the bamboo crafts are sold at local market, some are taken by visitors, and others are customized products.

To have enough raw materials, He Ying planted bamboos every year. Grown bamboos are mostly harvested during October to December, when pests are the least. 

At home, He cut bamboos into even strips, which were dried over the fireplace.

“As long as I visit the town, I will take the bamboo tables or baskets, so that more citizens could know about our Dai craft,” said Feng Zhengming, son of He Ying. 

For He Ying and his fellow villagers, bamboo knitting has become a natural part of their life, and they want to keep on doing it.

By Liu Dong, Liu Xinwei and Ding Ning (Xinhua); trans-editing by Wang Shixue

Keywords:   Bamboo life Dai people