Birch bark utensil
The tradition of making utensils out of birch barks still exists in North China's Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region and some parts of neighboring Heilongjiang Province.
Sort: Traditional Handicraft
Area: Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang Serial
Declarer: Oroqen Autonomous Banner, Inner Mongolia autonomous region
The tradition of making utensils out of birch barks still exists in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region and some parts of neighboring Heilongjiang province. Historically lacking in pottery or ceramics, some nomadic ethnic groups living in north China, such as Mengol, Oroqen, Daur, and Ewenki, used birch bark to make daily utensils.
Birch bark was preferable for utensils as they are portable, durable, waterproof and resistant to corrosion. A versatile material, birch bark can also be made into boats, boxes, bowls, suitcases and baskets. They are sewn with strings made from animal tendons or horsehairs, and carved with a variety of patterns. More than important utensils, birch bark utensils are also exquisite artworks.
Four processes are usually needed to make birch bark utensils. First, peeling the birch bark; second, soaking or boiling it in water until it softens; third, cutting and sewing; fourth, decorating it with beautiful patterns. People often carve or paste decorative patterns signifying peace and happiness on birch bark utensils.
As the living style of nomadic groups changed, birch bark utensils became less used. As an art form, it's on the brink of extinction. Therefore, more effort is needed for its preservation.
As the living style of nomadic groups changed, birch bark utensils have became less used. As an art form, it's on the brink of extinction.