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Chenghe Wickerwork

Source: hubei.gov.cn 01/29/2016 09:01:15

Wickerwork was listed among the 2nd batch of National Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008.

Introduction

Chenghe wickerwork, also known as Xiangyang wickerwork, is a specialty of Chenghe town, Xiangzhou district, Xiangyang city, and a product with protected geographical indication in China. Chenghe is one of the top three wickerwork export bases in China. Chenghe wickerwork is famed in the world for the white, soft, smooth and uniform wickers and exquisite weaving workmanship. The products enjoy a high reputation in the international market.

Origin

Chenghe has a subtropical monsoon climate, with four seasons and abundant rainfall. The annual average air temperature is 16℃ ~ 20℃, with a maximum of 40℃, and minimum of -11℃. The annual average rainfall is 880mm ~ 1100mm, the annual average relative humidity is 75 percent southeasterly in the summer, northeasterly prevailing in winter and an average wind speed of 17m/s. The land in the town is flat and dominated by alluvial plains and upland. The Tang River runs through the western part of the town.

The Heiqinghe Reservoir is medium sized and is located in the eastern area of the town. In the town, reservoirs and canals are densely distributed, the irrigation coverage of arable land is high and the reserve of ground water is ample. The special geographical environment provides a favorable natural condition for the growth of wickers. The wickers in Chenghe are white, soft and smooth and are a good material of wickerwork. By 2007, Chenghe had 5,000 wicker growers and the area of bases was 35,000 mu.

History

Chenghe has long been called, “a land of wickerwork,” and enjoys a history of wickerwork production for more than 300 years. It lies in the northeast of Xiangyang and has a population of less than 30,000. It used to be a flooded area of the Tang River. In the flood season, the farmland was often swamped, but wicker was not affected by waterlogging and grew easily, so the peasants used it to weave wickerwork and sold the products to cover living expenses. After some time, Chenghe wickerwork gradually gained a reputation. There is popular local proverb: “planting without weaving, you may earn 3,000 yuan/mu; planting and weaving, you may earn 6,000 yuan/mu.”

Production condition

Chenghe is one of the top three wickerwork production and export bases in China. In 2003, the town organized three large wickerwork companies, 61 large marketing households, more than 500 specialized wickerwork households and more than 5,000 wicker growing households to set up a chamber of commerce for wickerwork industry. This covered 35,000 mu of bases and employed 12,000 weavers. In addition, the town also had “Jinhe” trademark registered in the State Intellectual Property Office. The wickerwork is classified into five categories, more than 400 series and greater than 3,000 designs that include ornaments, containers, packages, chairs, tables, luxury furniture and tourist products. In 2007, this association was rated one of the top 50 rural technical associations in Hubei jointly by the provincial department of civil affairs and the provincial department of agriculture. Under the guidance and operation of the association, the town signed 46 orders amounting to 620,000 dollars and 220 contracts of intention amounting to four million dollars at the 95th Canton Fair. The products were sold to Japan, Hong Kong, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Greece, Denmark, Australia, Egypt and other countries and regions.

Since 2006, the town has appointed senior technicians from Henan and Anhui to train the excellent weavers who have the foundation of wickerwork and are influential in the specialized wickerwork villages of Chenghe. After strict selection process, 130 weavers were selected to receive the training. The training included traditional fine weaving and vertical weaving as well as the horizontal weaving, nail weaving, twist weaving and wood weaving which were new to the weavers. They played a role of instruction, help and guidance in raising the overall weaving, grade and product level of their town.

By 2007, the production of wickerwork in Chenghe had formed “four major patterns”: large bases, large weaver team, large companies and a large increase of income. Wickerwork had been developed into more than 4,000 series and 10,000 varieties and the products were sold greater than 30 Chinese cities, more than 20 countries and regions including Europe, the United States and Australia. The annual output value exceeded 100 million yuan and the earnings in hard currency exceeded three million dollars.