Last week my husband and I visited a small but wonderful exhibition entitled Discovering Japanese Bamboo Art at Indiana University’s Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis. This was my favorite from the 45 baskets on display; it’s titled “Graceful Dragon,” and it’s by a Japanese artist named Yufu Shohaku.
Touring exhibits like this always leads me to the same question: do these objects or materials or themes appear in hashioki? I have a number of hashioki that have the shape of bamboo, and a few that are decorated with bamboo designs, and a few more that are made from bamboo. But I didn’t think I had any chopstick rests that were truly bamboo baskets…. until I remembered this gambion.
Gambion is actually an Italian word; I don’t know the Japanese word for this. It is a kind of cage that holds rocks, and is used for flood control or to prevent the erosion of river banks, similar to the way that sandbags are used.
Of course in this example the cage is made up of bamboo strips, and the rocks are small semi-precious stones. I’ve seen hashioki like this for sale in many stores in Japan.
In the press release for the bamboo art exhibit they quoted an expert named Robert T. Coffland as saying ”Bamboo is as deeply intertwined as rice in Japanese history and culture.”
To that I add: so are hashioki.