The development of rattan industry in Taiwan Origin
The rattan industry is mainly located in south and central Taiwan, of which the most well-known region is Guanmiao. The earliest rattan-made technology can track back to the period of late Qing dynasty when our ancestors migrated to Taiwan. Due to the sustainable bamboo resource in Taiwan, the ancestors used the local materials to produce daily necessities.
Rattan Crafts in Japanese Occupied Period
During the Japanese ruled period, the Japanese government tried hard to plunder the resource in Taiwan. They commandered the bamboo forest, and established “Chu-Shan Prefecture Bamboo Craft Impartation Station” in Chushan. Hoping that through the original skills from Han Chinese people and aborigines, and the Japanese teachers instructed the handmade bamboo weaving technology, trained numerous talents and further developed the hand-woven bamboo products with special characteristics.
Rising and Falling of Rattan Industries in Modern Times
In 1967, the wage in Japan was monstrously inflated, so the focus in the rattan industry was shifted to Taiwan. As Muanmiao’s bamboo weaving technique is excellent and the weaving technique is relatively similar to the rattan’s, the Japanese orders for the rattan-made artifacts were increased. Until 1970s, due to the higher profits of exporting to Japan, the early people who engaged in the bamboo and rattan-made artifacts were transferred to the rattan processing factory. At the time, the people who engaged in the rattan-processing works in Guanmiao accounted for 30% of the total population of Guanmiao, forming a phenomenon of “three steps a factory; five step a company”. Taiwan had won the reputation as a “Kingdom of Rattan” since then. In 1988, the Indonesian government implemented rattan ban measure and Japan stopped purchase of rattan-made artifacts, which caused the serious impact on the domestic rattan market, so that Taiwan’s rattan industry was gradually declined due to close-down of most factories.
Stepping Out Again
In modern times, skills are request to be more and more innovative. Though Taiwan’s rattan industry now are not as well as before, people who work hard in this area still wants to open up a new way for this precious craftsmanship. In recent year, rattan crafts are made and changed rather than daily supplies. Because of the growth in living standard, people’s request on cultural, creative products and fashion art-craft are gradually increasing as well. Many kinds of crafts such as vases, coffee table and infant supplies can be found on the market. Consumers even can order customized products from masters. Taiwan’s rattan industry depends on its brand new creativity and exquisite skills to walk in front the world. And it also attracts many foreign scholars come to visit and learn this branch of study. And there also has a little people conform this kind of innovative, traditional mixed trend to get rich. The sunset industry now seems have a high chance to step out again and attract everyone’s eyes.
2018 International Cyberfair, Kaohsiung Girls' High School, Taiwan