Bamboos roots are deep in Chinese culture, with recorded use of it in the country being as early as the 11th century BC. In Chinese history, bamboo has found utilisation to create things such as:
• And more!
Before paper was invented, slips of bamboo were created and used for writing things such as books and documents. “The Art of War”, a famous piece composed by writer ‘Sunzi’ was first written on bamboo in the 5th century BCE. Now it has developed, and we can use bamboo paper for things such as toilet rolls and kitchen rolls!
Transportation and construction
Bamboo has capabilities within transport too, being used to make rafts which were historically used for crossing rivers and fishing. Even to this day, you are able to ride on an actual bamboo raft in China.
Bamboo has always been widely used in construction throughout Chinese history. A material with lots of functions within construction, it has historically been used to make a wide variety of structures from small bridges to astounding rooftops ordered by the emperor. Nowadays, bamboo is still used in some construction sites in China for scaffolding.
The Chinese flute is one of the most widely used instruments in traditional Chinese music, and they are also made of bamboo! The amazingly crafted instrument creates a soothing, humming sound which brings an extremely relaxing tone to traditional Chinese music.
A lot of traditional paintings from China feature bamboo as the centrepiece as for thousands of years, bamboo has been utilised as a motif within their paintings.
In traditional Chinese culture, bamboo has had its traits analysed and humanised to have meaning beyond it just being a shoot. Bamboo symbolises tranquillity, flexibility, humility, and simplicity, showing modesty and mental strength. The deepness of its roots represents steadiness. Bamboo makes humanoid comparisons in what it does in tandem with three other plants:
• Plum blossoms
When used together in the context of symbolism, they are described as “The Four Horseman”. Sometimes, the four horseman are used to resemble the seasons:
• Orchids symbolising Spring
• Bamboo symbolising Summer
• Chrysanthemums symbolising Autumn
• Plum blossoms symbolising Winter
Impact on the Environment
In the late 90s, the government of China created a schemed named “Grain-for-green” with goals to replace land of agriculture with forest to restore the green landscape of China and encourage biodiversity. Many of these forests went through a process of monoculture (referring to only a single species of plant growing) and therefore the bamboo grew rife in the forests it was planted.