2008 Shanghai Bamboo Art Festival

A visitor tries playing a set of elaborate bamboo-made bells during the 8th Bamboo Cultural Festival in Shanghai on September 10, 2007. All kinds of bamboo-related works of art will show up during the festival.

Bamboo is a Chinese symbol of longevity and tenacity because it's always sending forth green shoots and its plants can be ancient. Bamboo is also a symbol of strength and grace because it bends but doesn't break.

For thousands of years, artists and poets have taken bamboo as their subject. Bamboo slips were used for some of the earliest writing; bamboo is used for simple flutes; bamboo shoots are a favorite in Chinese cuisine.

Bamboo is also used in traditional Chinese medicine to clear heat (yang energy), resolve phlegm, treat chest congestion, nausea and vomiting.

There's much more to bamboo culture - landscaping, music, poetry, arts and crafts, furniture and so on.

The 2008 Shanghai Bamboo Art Festival will be held in the Shanghai Guyi Garden from September 19 to October 31.

It's the 9th festival organized by the Shanghai Greenery Administrative Bureau.

The theme will be "Charming Bamboo, Classic Heritage," and it will include a bamboo garden, exhibition of interesting species, bamboo cooking, arts and crafts and other pleasures.

Guyi Garden in Nanxiang Town is famous for its bamboo. "Yi Garden" suggests stretches of green bamboo.

The garden was designed by Zhu Sansong, a bamboo-carving master in the Ming Dynasty (1348-1644). It contains many rare bamboos, including tortoise shell bamboo, Buddha's belly bamboo, and phoenix tail bamboo.

Planted in clusters, the different bamboos create a charming and harmonious setting for relaxation.

Chinese used bamboo for carving thousands of years ago. Decorative patterns and text were carved on bamboo utensils. Bamboo crafts were made during the last six dynasties, but they were also known in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).

Guyi Garden contains major bamboo carvings, such as "Plum, Lotus, Bamboo and Chrysanthemum," and "God of Wealth." Smaller carvings are also exhibited.

During the festival, old and new bamboo crafts will be on show.

Public suggestions for exhibits and activities are welcome.

You can visit Guyi Garden Website (www.guyigarden.com), or email guyigarden@sina.com for more information about the Bamboo Art Festival.


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