Bamboo Craft on the Decline

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Kangpara gewog in Trashigang is seeing a decline in its traditional bamboo-craft (tsazo) practice, with craftsmen finding better economic opportunities elsewhere or in other line of work. Villages of Madewa, Pasaphu, Pedung practise bamboo-craft, and weave products like bangchung, pen case, tsezem (cane backpack), hand bag, belo (cane hat) and pey palang (incense case).

But this tradition has been on the decline since last year. “My father would transport the bamboo products to Thimphu twice a year but, since last year, he stopped,” a bamboo craftsman in Pedung, Kinzang Tshering, said. “The income is meagre.”

Bamboo Artist

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Sitting on the bamboo floored verandah of his 2 storied traditional house in Kheng Zurphel, Ap Doekha makes containers, baskets and ropes from the tall perennial evergreen bamboo found in plenty around his house.

A pioneer in the making of what in Khengkha is called ‘zom’ (a cylindrical milk container), when Kuensel met him, the 61-year-old was stitching a broad hollow bamboo container, measuring about 40 cm in diameter and a meter high, with the capacity to contain the milk of five cows.