Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chinese vernacular furniture

©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

Sichuan is the kingdom of bamboo and as soon as I moved here I started collecting these bamboo chairs, purchased usually right out from under the bottom of the user. Most of these chairs have the owner's name written in characters on the back and I must admit that some owners were quite sad to part with their chair, so I gladly paid a little extra for "affektionsvärdet" as we say in Swedish (sentimental value). I especially like used ones as new ones lack that "lived in" look of someone's behind rubbing back and forth over the woven seat for thousands of days. Unfortunately "lived in" can also mean "inhabited" - a couple of cockroaches came home that way too, they'd obviously led a cosy existence in the hollow bamboo. Sometimes I've bought them from itinerant craftsmen that come in to the city from the countryside to sell their handmade wares. Th new chairs hang from a bamboo pole carried over their shoulders and the cost is miniscule. These men will also make to order anything you like: a ladder, a bookshelf, a small table for your balcony. The design is quintessential Sichuan and evokes long, lazy days chewing the fat with friends in a teahouse or curbside eatery. 

Home delivery by bicycle rickshaw ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

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