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Linshu Wickerwork in Shandong: A Cultural Symbol Passed Down for Millennia

LINYI, China

LINYI, China, Apr. 23, 2024 /Xinhua-AsiaNet/–

Linshu wickerwork, a renowned traditional handicraft, boasts a history of over 1,400 years. Evolving from simple household tools used by locals to a pivotal industry in the region, Linshu wickerwork has continuously adapted to the changing times, with the value of its products steadily increasing.

The primary material used in Linshu wickerwork is white willow branches. These branches undergo a process of peeling, drying, and processing before they are woven into various daily necessities and handicrafts such as baskets, bins, crates, sieves, trays, winnowing fans, fish traps, measures, barrels, round baskets, and willow boxes. The craftsmanship involved in willow weaving is exquisite, employing a variety of techniques including weaving, tying, threading, winding, twisting, and assembling. Thanks to its considerable cultural, practical, and environmental value, Linshu wickerwork products contribute over 40% to Shandong Province’s wickerwork exports and more than 26% to the nation’s total, achieving an annual output value of 4 billion yuan. On January 28, 2024, Linshu County was honored with the title of “World Capital of Willow Weaving Craft” by the World Crafts Council.

Through generations of inheritance and development, Linshu County has nurtured numerous skilled artisans in willow weaving, including Yang Jinbang, a national intangible cultural heritage representative for Linshu wickerwork; Liu Dequan, a national model worker; Wang Chaoxue, a researcher of wickerwork culture; Zhou Shengfu, a “master” of Linshu wickerwork; Jie Yinquan, a creative wickerwork talent born in the 1980s; Zhang Zhiquan, a promoter of the wickerwork industry, and many more. Through their efforts, Linshu wickerwork has gradually gained international recognition, taking its place on the world stage.