Qilin dance performance, as Chinese intangible cultural heritage, is very popular in the northwest countryside of Huanghua City, Hebei Province. It is performed during every Chinese Lantern Festival to welcome good fortune and pray for nice weather, good crops and peace. Normally, Qilin dance requires two dancers, the one in front who walks on wooden stilts, swaying with the head of Qilin, and the one behind who bends his back and moves the tail. The performance is quite a challenge, strong in action and needs closer cooperation of the two dancers. The skeleton of Qilin is made of bamboo stick and covered by fabric, on which the scales sewed with colored satin and laser paper. The head, teeth and other parts are all painted. Stilts are made of local hardwood.
Located in the semi-arid sertão (hinterland) region of northeastern Brazil, Juazeiro do Norte is best known as the base of the charismatic priest and spiritual leader Padre Cícero; the famous bandit leader and folk hero of the Cangaço (banditism phenomenon of Northeast in late 19th century) Lampião; poet, songwriter and musician Luis Gonzaga who sang for this region, considered as King of Baião (northeastern Brazilian music genre and dance, similar to Samba). Although known for its aridness and hard way of life, Juazeiro do Norte has been part of mystical legends throughout history. Strongly influenced by its past, “Os Compadre” (brotherhood in Portuguese) woodcarving workshop is the union of woodcarvers from Centro de Cultura Popular Mestre Noza. Watch the video and see how Os Compadre’s woodcarver builds a bridge between woodcarving and their folk culture.
The Locos dancers of San Isidro is a traditional festivity celebrated in Lagunillas, Venezuela. The awarded toymaker Mario Calderón decides to stimulate the child's imagination in his town by working with wood. His idea is to maintain culture through time from generation to generation.
Latvian woodworker Rihards Vidzickis has the love and passion for creating his works by one of the most eco-friendly and beloved materials - wood. Rihards is a talented master, a real fine sculptor and a skillful carpenter, and he is running a park of wooden sculptures and furniture for people to get to know the charm of wood. In this video, it took Rihards monthslong to create a traditional expanded dugout canoe by using mostly traditional hand tools and techniques. The whole process started with stripping the bark from the tree to finally launching the completed canoe, and presented the perfect combination of craft and nature.
2016 World Wood Day Folk Art Workshop presented diverse forms of wooden folk art from 10 countries and 6 Nepali ethnic groups. Through a series of exhibition, demonstration and workshops, it offered an opportunity for participants to reflect on attitudes towards traditional woodcrafts. Even though some of them are vanishing due to modern development, wood still plays a prominent role in connecting people with nature and culture.
The Grand Sawara festival has a history of 300 years. It is indeed one of the biggest festivals in Tokyo, Japan. During the festivals, Dashi is always under spotlight. Each Dashi is composed of one giant sacred doll which represents the Japanese deity and a shrine that is elaborately decorated. And Ikkyō Kitazawa is specialized in designing and engraving the surrounding walls of Dashi.
Nepal is a multiethnic country, including more than 59 indigenous groups which constitutes 40% of its total population. Many of the communities fully depend on forest and timber products for survival, entertainment and religious purposes. Wood is an indispensable part of their live, though its importance is diminishing due to the influx of cheap alternatives. Meanwhile, attempts are made by individuals and groups to preserve and promote their tradition of using wood.
IWCS team visited 3 of the major ethnic groups, namely Newar, Tharu and Chepang, in Kathmandu, Dang and Chitwan to explore their distinguished and diversified wood culture and introduced some of them to the global audiences in the 2016 World Wood Day celebration at Nepal Academy.
Southeast Alaska, beginning in Ketchikan, Metlakatla, Sitka, Juneau and others, is the traditional homeland of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian and is rich in Indian culture, wood carving and totem. Wood carving, as an art form, reflects all the Native cultures connecting with the environment. The wood materials used come from the forest and the forms usually represent animals, spirits or places.
In the fourth century, St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ's life. During the excavation, workers found three wooden crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a woman.
Instead of emphasis on the religion part, this documentary film aspires to showcase the enthusiastic relationship between artists and their wood work, as well as the meaningfulness of our encounters with wood by capturing the celebration at the Monastery of Vosakos and the interaction with local wood carvers.
This Wood Culture tour will introduce you to the primary music genres and wooden instruments in Turkey. The musical culture of Turkey is shaped and influenced by the multiple ethnicities within Anatolia region through out history. It can be categorized into two genres, Anatolia Folk music and Ottoman/Turkish Maqam music. Traditional Instruments also fall under these categories as well. We will explore the materials the instruments are made from, their history, and the bound between the instruments and musicians.
Far up in North-Eastern Europe, there is an island called Saaremaa, where men dress up as billy goats to bring good luck and fertility to households on the night of New Year’s Day. This is a pre-Christian tradition that has been carried on from generation to generation as long as people can remember. Billy goats dance, play tricks and butt people, especially girls and children. Unfortunately, this tradition is dying out. Billy goats are artefacts of local woodcraft, since men search bogs to find the finest and toughest crooked pine roots to make billy goats’ heads with horns. The only footage of billy goats available for the public is shot in the 1960s and kept in the Estonian Folklore Archives. Original soundtrack by an Estonian musician Juhan Vihterpal, played by Juhan himself. Folk tune Karjala-Soome polka played by billy goats Ain Hannus and Raimo Kald. "The Billy Goats of Saaremaa" is a video made for the contest "Wood and Humanity" sponsored by the International Wood Culture Society (http://www.iwcs.com). Author Merit Karise, teacher at the design department of Kuressaare Regional Training Centre, Saaremaa, Estonia (www.disainimajakas.ee).
In the same places where "La Terra Trema" by Luchino Visconti (1948) was filmed, the Rodolico family has been building ships for four generations. If yesterday around these shipwrights a whole community used to gather and identify itself, today that world is disappearing because of the changing times. However, it is the Wood that still preserves and builds the memory of a very ancient knowledge: the one of the last shipwrights.
Known for their brightly painted depictions of fantastical creatures, Alebrijes have become a sustainable livelihood for many artists residing in Oaxaca, Mexico. Learning to craft the intricate woodcarvings takes years to master and the most respected carvers have worked tirelessly in developing their own distinct style.
Abyaneh is a small mountain village, located 55km to the north of Kashan. Its unique geographical traits have enabled the locals' culture, customs, clothing and language to be better preserved. The his and hers door knockers on the wooden doors can also be found in the village. Men and women use different knockers, which make different sounds, in order to remind the house owner which gender should be answering this visit.
Masks were always part of Aztecs (Mexicas) rituals and religious ceremonies, and were thought to be powerful and prestigious. Aztec masks were used as ornaments, worn as part of a ritual, or as a death mask. During the Spanish conquest, one of Mexico’s most magnificent masks were developed by indigenous people to imitate Spaniards face features as a way to mock their oppressors, and perform during festivals. Carnival traditions are preserved and celebrated annually, but only very few skilled artisans continue the traditional art of mask carving.
The Qadisha valley, which also known as the Holy valley, is one of the earliest Christian monastic settlements in the world. Its monasteries, many of which an age of centuries, stand in subtle positions in the deep gorge. Nearby, the “Cedars of God” is one of the oldest cedar forests in Lebanon. The cedars here were once exported for many usages and now is a protected species. The sites are now co-listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The pinyon pine nut, a popular snack food of the native American Navajo people, savory after roasted, is believed to be a good source of protein and other nutrients. In the video, Shanna Yazzie, a Navajo from Cameron, Arizona, told of one of the remaining traditions kept by their hunters and gatherers on pinyon pine nut picking, demonstrating how the people take care of the nuts after harvest.
Kachina is a culture which can best represent the Native Americans in Southwestern United States. The Kachina is a symbol of spirits or the simulacra of everything in the real world, from ancestors to a concept. The Hopi Kachina Dolls are carved in the form and concept as such and are used to educate children the ways of life, thus the spiritual faith and carving technique may come into heritage. They show us the unique outlook on life and cosmology of Hopis.
Mamoiada is situated in the centre of Sardinia, the second biggest island of Italy. Sardinia’s Mamuthones is an ancient carnival which can dates back to 2,000 years ago. During the carnival, people wear black mask to scare devils away, and wear white mask to embrace the incoming spring. Next time when you visit Sardinia, besides the delicious cuisine and the fascinating Mediterranean, why don't you stop by Mr. Ruggero Mameli's workshop? He's been working on these traditional masks for more than 30 years, his collections will absolutely amaze you.
The Peruvian territory was once home to ancient cultures spanning from Caral, one of the oldest civilizations in the world, to the Inca Empire, the largest empire in Pre-Columbian America. Cusco was the historic capital of the Inca Empire, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. Today, rich and ancient traditions are still preserved by Quechua people, such as; gratitude to Pachamama through Holy Wood, traditional weaving with simple wooden tools, a carefully guarded bread recipe that uses eucalyptus wood in the process and, musical instruments connected to Andean cosmology.
A girl interprets her vision and hearing about the village where she comes from, the Wa tribe in China, and the imagery of the village and movements of villagers are like a documentary vividly presented within her mind. The Wa tribe is undergoing the cultural transformation, and Wa wood drum becomes the crucial cultural element for them to reclaim and preserve what they have missed from the ancestors.
The beautiful Venice Gondola made with the skill that represents the refinement of Italian craftsmanship passed down from 16 and 17 century, is a cultural heritage that embodies values and stories of it. The launching ceremony for blessing presented in this video enables viewers to have a better insight of this traditional woodcraft.
The Makonde tribe, an African tribe, was regarded as the cradle of woodcarving in East Africa. They live in Tanzania, Mozambique and have a small presence in Kenya. Makonde people are famous for their fanciful woodcrafts, embodying their spiritual beliefs and family life. Let’s take a look of the video!
Ifugao is a province in Luzon Island, the Philippines. The mountain tribe lives here is also called the Ifugao. The life of the aborigines from their dwellings, transportation, to woodcraft industry, is mainly relied on the surrounding natural resources such as forests and rice terraces.
Ganvie is a lake village in Benin, with a population around 20,000 people. Life in Ganvie is strongly bound to wood, from the fish traps, canoes to their dwellings. There are only 3 boatyards left in the area. Mr. Tammassebomou’s boatyard is one of them and still devotes to the boating industry.
The Race of Rabelo Boats is an annual competition which first started in 1983. Held in the second biggest city in Portugal, the competition aims to preserve the tradition of Porto wine transportation. Cellars alongside Douro River are sponsors who are also responsible for the maintenance and repair of each Rabelo boat.
The SIIDA (the Sami cultural and natural museum in Inari) was opened in 1962. It provides visitors knowledge and information of Sami culture and Arctic Nature in the northernmost region of Finland.
In the exhibition hall of the SIIDA, numerous Sami wooden crafts, such as baby cradle, dishes, drinking cups, butter box, and jewelry box, etc., are well preserved and displayed. Also, there is a photo exhibition of the Sami history that tells stories of their life for generations.
In order to make a living, the indigenous Sami people have some customs, such as domesticated reindeers herding and fish catching in the river. Traditionally, the Sami lived a way of life based on seasonal movement from their winter sod dwellings or log cabins to spring, summer and autumn camps. These Sami sod huts, log cabins, and wooden boats for moving along rivers, from the 18th to 19th century, have also been collected and exhibited at the open-air area of the SIIDA .
Ifugao province is on Luzon Island, the northern part of the Philippines. It is located in a mountainous region with rice terraces, river valleys and forests, where people still make a living by mostly farming and wood carving.
We were lucky to meet an aboriginal priestess, Elena Anagiwan, introducing us the ritual of harvest, which is a way to show our respect to God.