My family and I went to Japan House LA a little while ago for the opening of an incredible new exhibit about woven bamboo. It features an installation by bamboo artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV. (See the time-lapse below of him and his apprentices assembling it.) The exhibit runs from Thursday, July 28, 2022 – Sunday, January 15, 2023.
Tomorrow, Japan House LA is hosting a webinar about Japanese woven bamboo baskets. The event is free, and I promise you'll be astounded by the beauty of these baskets.
For millennia, the Japanese have woven bamboo strips into utilitarian baskets for storing and preparing food. From around the 8th century, special flower baskets were made to hold offerings at Buddhist temples, and by the 15th century, with the evolution of the tokonoma alcove and the tea ceremony, woven bamboo flower containers began appearing in homes and tea rooms too. Although Japan's westernization in the late 19th century and the adoption of plastic containers after WWII, caused the craft of bamboo basket to decline, recent support from the Japanese government and international art galleries, museums and art collectors have revitalized bamboo basket making. Now Japanese bamboo baskets are shown in museum exhibitions worldwide.