In this mockumentary, we follow Seth and Benjamin (Ben-hamin). They haven't seen each other since they were five years old. The death of their grandfather has brought them together once again. The handmade wooden objects in the house that Seth inherited from their grandfather will reconnect the two long lost cousins.
"Primeval Forest" is a story about the last primeval forest in Europe, the Bialowieza forest, located on the border between Poland and Belarus. This transboundary property is exceptional for the opportunities it offers for biodiversity conservation, nevertheless it is now in danger due to excessive wood logging. This place has always been a great inspiration for artists. “Primeval Forest” presents the Bialowieza Forest from the perspective of people who care about the place deeply and understand the importance of keeping it alive for next generations.
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.
Comacchio is surrounded by water—and it has always been surrounded by water until 1821. Before, in order to arrive at Comacchio you had to take a boat. Here wasn’t any material for bricks– it was very rare. So, one of the most used materials that has always been popular, since the times of the ancient Etruscan city of Spina, was wood. In this region there was the ancient forest called "Elisea", which was full of holly oaks, oaks and other types of trees. Over the centuries, the inhabitants of these territories developed techniques to use wood to built boats, lake dwellings and other very special fishing equipment.
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.
Upholding the philosophy of “small production but high quality,” Italian violin workshop Paolo Vettori & Sons has practiced its craft for three generations. Paolo Vettori is profoundly influenced by his father, Dario Vettori, on the techniques, structure and style of violin-making. Now, his children, Dario II, Lapo, and Sofia are working together to continue the tradition established by their grandfather Dario Vettori in 1935.
Xochimilco lies 28 km south of Mexico City. Its network of canals and artificial islands are the efforts of the Aztec people built on a habitat in the midst of an unfavorable environment. It is said these islands had very high crop yields with up to 7 crops a year. The artificial and floating island called chinampas’ transportation is the colorful non-motorized wooden boats- “trajineras”, which sails through the 170 km. canals. Trees such as “āhuexōtl” or “āhuēhuētl” is an important part of the ecosystem, planted at the corners to secure the chinampa and act as wind breakers. The ecological reserve Xochimilco was added to World Heritage Site in 1987, but the area is facing severe problems, posed by development pressures, changes to land-use, abandonment and contamination.
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.
Xochimilco lies 28 km south of Mexico City. Its network of canals and artificial islands are the efforts of the Aztec people built on a habitat in the midst of an unfavorable environment. It is said these islands had very high crop yields with up to 7 crops a year. The artificial and floating island called chinampas’ transportation is the colorful non-motorized wooden boats- “trajineras”, which sails through the 170 km. canals. Trees such as“āhuexōtl" or "āhuēhuētl" is an important part of the ecosystem, planted at the corners to secure the chinampa and act as wind breakers. The ecological reserve Xochimilco was added to World Heritage Site in 1987, but the area is facing severe problems, posed by development pressures, changes to land-use, abandonment and contamination.
Shawo Village is located in Hebei province of China, with about 270 households. Hundreds of years ago, almost every household of the village turned wooden bowls by foot-powered lathe. Besides bowls, they also made other wooden cooking utensils, tool-handles, small toys by other small hand-powered lathe. Today, only six elderly grandpas in the village can use the lathe. The younger generation, led by Li Xuemin who is in deep love and respect to the past, realized the important and responsibility of the inheritance and began to learn the technique from the elders.
With the support from various part of the society including the strong support from International Wood Culture Society and AAW, local inheritors are more encouraged and exert themselves to move forward. In the video, you can see the essence of the traditional set-turning technique of Shawo village. The demonstrator is 84-year-old Cheng Jinqing and his apprentice Li Xuemin.
The reassembled Khufu ship is just located beside the Khufu Pyramid, and it can be dated back to 2500 B.C. During the 1950s, archaeologists discovered that thousands of wooden pieces were pressed under huge limestones. Surprisingly, there was only one wooden oak that was broken after almost 4,500 years. Also, we have found related wall paintings in the tomb of Ty, a noble's tomb that can be dated back to 2500 B.C. The only difference is that Khufu ship is driven by manpower, while most of the wall paintings are about sailing boats, which are wind-driven.
Nashtifan is close to the border of Iran and Afghanistan. Here, 120 days out of a year are windy, which allows windmills to function well. Some scholars have proposed that these wooden windmills are the origin of the first windmills, which then spread to China in the east and Europe in the west. Pine wood, which grows in the neighborhood forest, is usually used as the axis of the windmill.
The 71-year-old woodcarver, Mr. Mohammad Mohammadzadeh, developed his interest in woodcarving at the age of 4 due to family influence. He kept on challenging himself throughout his career with different kinds of woodworks. Among all, as a Hajj himself, his favorite topic is about Islam, such as the inlaid Quran stand.
The Far North District includes the northern tip of the North Island, New Zealand. Located in Waipoua Forest, Tane Mahuta, the Lord of the Forest, is known as the biggest living kauri tree in New Zealand. And in the town Kaitaia lives the Master Waka Builder Hekenukumai Hector Busby, who has built over 30 waka and voyaged to Hawaii and Easter Island without modern navigation instruments.
Among the Far North District, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is the most important place that preserves the cultural heritage of Maori. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds is where the Treaty of Waitangi sighed in 1840, and preserves the Treaty House, the Carved Meeting House, the Flagstaff, and the biggest Ceremonial War Canoe. The meeting house plays a significant role in Maori's culture and history. All the wooden sculptures around the meeting house represent their ancestors of their tribes, and the meeting house itself is also an important and sacred venue for ceremonies held by Maori people.
There’s a village called Choubin in Neyshabour, which means “made of wood” in Persian. All buildings in this area including mosque, library, and even a gigantic residence are not only built of pure wood, but also featuring quake-resistant. Various kinds of timber, such as pine, walnut, and cherry are used and combine in numerous constructions.
Shouf Biosphere Reserve is the largest cedar reserve in Lebanon, taking up 5% of its total land. In the old times, cedars were traded and used in various ways, including boat and temple-building. For instance, the solar boat in ancient Egypt was made of Lebanese cedars. The massive need for cedars has resulted in the declining of tree numbers, and therefore, reserves were established to protect this precious national tree. Mr. Faisal Abu-Izzeddin is one of the establishers of Shouf Biosphere Reserve.
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.
The Menominee Cultural Museum in Keshena was opened in Nov. 2011. Artifacts of the tribe from the past and present are in display. It took the organizers nearly 20 years to put it together and establish the museum, and they are working to educate the general public about the culture of the tribe.
Hidden behind a small grey door is a not-so-ordinary workshop run by three craftswomen. This is where fortepiano being restored. Since its invention around the year 1700 by the Italian instruments maker, Bartolomeo Cristofori, piano has gone through an evolution as time passes. Yet, these artists still exerted all their strengths to preserve its original beauty with their skills and knowledge.
Ohlone Tribe, a Native American People lived in California coast from San Francisco Bay through Monterey Bay to the lower Salinas Valley in the late 18th century. The Ohlone Indian culture can be explored at the Chitactac-Adams County Heritage Park, which emphasizes a unique view into the Native American culture of Santa Clara area. In Ohlone lives, the baskets that made from willow sticks and sedge roots played an essential role. The Ohlone basket-weaving technique was once lost and later restored by Linda Yamane, who made her first tribal basket in 1994.
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 thousand years ago, Saint Romuald founded the Sacred Hermitage and Monastery of Camaldoli in the forest a thousand meters above the sea level in Tuscany, Italy. The resources provided by both exotic and regional trees have been a support for the daily life, and as a protection to the monastery. The beauty of the mutualism between the monks and the trees is well demonstrated in this forest.
Dai village is in transition from traditional materials to modern ones. Traditional Dai-style houses retained original topography for decades, but many wood, stone and other natural materials are being replaced by modern materials.
Dongyang Woodcarving, developed in Zhejiang Province, China since Tang Dynasty (618-907), is characterized by its exquisite relief carving. Each piece of work goes through 6 making processes and requires excellent craftsmanship to accomplish the delicate design. Despite its fame, it encounters the problem of shrinking number of new blood and lack of creativity. Alerted to the worrying situation, institutions and individuals have taken steps to reverse the situation and it has been proved to be a successful story of preserving traditional craftsmanship.
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.
Bucheli and Chlefeli are two charming wooden instruments that are not widely known, and rarely played and manufactured nowadays. Although they are simple and easy to play, the unique sound features enabled them to accompany well with other musical instruments.
Located in Central Japan, Gifu prefecture connects main roads to the west and the east coast. This makes it a suitable hub for log transporting and trading.
In the auction season, people come to Gifu Precious Wood Market and try bidding the precious wood they want. Auctioneers open the bids and start to read each specific price in a unique rhythm repeatedly to maintain the intensity of the atmosphere. In such an ambience, people will raise their price continuously and get the bid in a snap!
In front of the office, there stands a monument engraved with the words “Wood’s Soul”, which shows the homage Gifu people pay to the wood. They believe that the wood has guarded and protected them for hundreds of years.
Nagoya is in the west part of Aichi prefecture. It is located in the Chubu region between Tokyo and the ancient capital Kyoto hence people also name it Central Capital. Famous for its car industry with Toyota and other brands, Nagoya is the fourth most populated city in Japan.
In this industrialized city, there still lives a group of people who try to preserve the ancient Japanese wood culture. Some are struggling between the reality of life and their ideals of protecting traditional techniques, while some has made a fortune transforming wood art into business.
For example, Mr. Makoto Kuroda is a famous wooden chessboard master who insists to make woodcrafts in a traditional way in spite of the fierce competition of machine products or Chinese hand-made products. On the other hand, Mr. Tatsuro Hioki owns a chain restaurant serving crabs and Japanese cuisine. The restaurant is famous for its wooden interior design and it is popular among Japanese and people from around the world.
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!
Kilwa Kisiwani (which means "Kilwa of the Island") is located off the coast of Tanzania, East Africa. This thriving seaport was once being forgotten, but now is a protected site in the list of UNESCO world Heritage.
Kilwa Kisiwani was subjugated to different races, including Persian (Iranian nowadays), Portuguese and Arabian due to its superior geographic location for trading. It was once a famous seaport but lost its glory since the mid-19th century. There are still around 1000 residents living in this tranquil island at the present time.
People dwell in huts that are made of palm leaves and logs, which are collected from trees on the island. Villagers build and repair dhows for fishing. Fishing is the main economic activity, but after Kilwa Kisiwani being listed as the world heritage, the newly developed eco-tourism has brought in additional income for villagers.
Bagamoyo is a tranquil harbor filled with Islamic fishermen and westerners who come here for vacation in the east coast of Africa. It’s about one hour drive toward north from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Fishermen build traditional dhows for fishing and transporting daily goods, such as palm oil and fuel from mainland Africa to nearby islands, for example, Zanzibar.
In Bagamoyo, most fishermen still use traditional dhows while only very few of them with better economic status can afford engine boat. A traditional dhow has one or more masts and is usually made of local timber. To sail the dhow, it requires 4-5 people, one operates the oar while the others spread out the sails on the mast. Today, fishing is still the main economic activity along the Bagamoyo coast.
The region surrounding the Moshi Town, just at the bottom of the great Mount Kilimanjaro, is known for its forest resources and lively communities. Wood-related industries such as wooden box beekeeping and banana brewing prosper in this area. To help advance the development of the beekeeping business, the government, academia and local business owners have worked together to improve the business by modifying the traditional wooden bee boxes. On the other hand, many banana beer brewers have kept the traditional way of brewing with wooden barrels. Despite their different paths, people involved in these two sectors have worked to maintain the tradition and the culture related to wood utilization in the country.
Located 180 km west from city Arusha, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a reserve with 8292 km2 land and is recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The main feature of NCA is the Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera formed around 3 million years ago when a giant volcano exploded. This natural enclosure is populated by a wide variety of wild animals, including herds of wildebeest, zebra, antelopes…etc.
Apart from wild life, Maasai tribe is another feature to observe in NCA. The Maasai is a semi-nomadic group of people whose lifestyle centers on their cattle. Moreover, around NCA, there is a lake named Eyasi where Hadzabe and Datoga people still live in a traditional life.
Patapum, a wooden boat built in 1931, is now under repair in the Maritime Museum of Barcelona. The Museum dedicates to the education on seafaring history and tradition of Spain, and passes the wooden boat construction technique onto the interested public through an outreach program. While in Ovar, Portugal, there is a wooden boat association, CENARIO, focusing on the restoration and sailing of wooden boats.
The traditional Malay house is a wooden one and serves the housing needs of people living in the rural areas of Malaysia. Since Malaysia is located in the tropical area, the house is designed to meet certain standards to adapt their needs, culture and climate.
The town of Baham is located at the Western Province of the Republic of Cameroon. Given that Baham is close to rainforests and up on a mountainous region, the temperature is rather mild. In the region around Baham there are a total of 16 villages. Residential settlements disperse from the center of the town, and one can see lively neighborhood. Peasants and children either stroll or do house chores along the sandy trails that go up and down the hills. Most of the residents still lead a relatively original life and live on farming and trading. Therefore, the use of firewood and wooden construction materials for small residential cabins are easily seen everywhere.
At Speicherstadt near downtown Hamburg, museums scatter on the grand harbor. The International Maritime Museum, opened in 2008, showcases Peter Tamm's collection of over 40,000 items of model ships, construction plans, uniforms, and maritime art. Besides the exquisite and overarching exhibitions, the building itself is a large, old wooden structure that was formerly a warehouse.
On the other hand, the Speicherstadt Museum exhibits objects about trading, especially coffee and tea trading. All of the business activities played an important role in carving the modern look of the Speicherstadt harbor. Several wooden items used in the old day to transport goods are displayed, so are photos and stories about the timber poles that bolster the foundation of the buildings at Speicherstadt.
The Highland Folk Museum is a living history site with an area of 32 hectares. In 1955, the open-air museum is open to public with portray of domestic and working condition of the old highlanders, showing how they used to build homes, decorate houses, till soils, weave wools and dress. It encapsulates aspects of 200 years of Highland rural life, starting from the early 1700s until the present day.
According to the stone remain of each house base, the carpenters and archaeology professors from University of Glasgow are working together on an experimental project on how the wooden roof would be built and how the interior would be arranged in the past.
The museum interpreted the highland folk history by re-locate and re-create buildings and features, such as schools, farms and shops, plus monthly programs, including various workshops and music events held to provide visitors an engaging experience of the town life.
Inaugurated in 2006, The National Museum of Scotland is located in central Edinburgh. The galleries have a wide-range of collections from the age of dinosaurs, related to the technology and about the history of art and design. The museum, exhibition of which covers both natural and cultural displays, is one of the most important places to discover the story of Scotland.
Starting from relics of Iron Age, to the Formula racing car, the gallery exhibits a series of collections that present the origins of Scottish history to the present day. Wooden collections are various in the museum, including the oak sculpture of St Luke back in 1500s, the industry mining machines, etc.
The name Salzkammergut, meaning “Salt Chamber" in German, was derived from the Imperial Salt Chamber, the authority that ran the salt mines during the Habsburg Empire.
The salt mine, located at Hallstatt, dates back 7000 years. There are many wooden relics left in it by the miners back in time. It has therefore been an important excavation for the archeological projects conducted by the Naturhistorisches Museum at Vienna. In addition to wooden digging and collecting tools, there is a world-famous Bronze-Age wooden staircase lying deep in the mine. The staircase was used by the miners to transport goods in the mine.
Also in the region is the Anzenau Mill Museum, the first building in the town of Bad Goisern. Originally a farmhouse when it was built in the 14th century, a watermill was added to it to saw wood and make bread in the 18th century. Up until now, tasty bread is still being made and sold in the house. In 2005, the building was transformed into a museum to display the traditional lifestyle of the residents.
The museum, once an orphanage, mainly displays objects and paintings related to the city from the 17th century onward, including numerous ancient wooden artifacts created by local artists. There are also wooden miniatures on the city’s infrastructure such as the canal and the city hall. Vivid large biblical figures made with wood stand in the public access area, and samples of large wooden poles immersed under water that support the city’s older buildings are also in display.
AUSEKļi MILL is a private open-air museum run by an enthusiastic local man, Mr. Martins Medins who is now a member of local council. He has turned his passion for culture and life into a practical idea in which demonstrations of traditional ways of living a country life and activities that engage people in fun atmosphere are helpful for raising people’s awareness of culture preservation. On our arrival, Mr. Martins Medins showed us all the equipment and objects from the olden days that he collected from all over the place and told the stories of those objects and the history of them.
The biggest open-air museum in Latvia, Ethnographic Open-air Museum serves various purposes for tourists and citizens in Riga. The way in which they manage this open-air museum is so unique that certain houses are open to traditional craftsmen for the purpose of demonstrating their skills and selling their work. The benefit of doing so is that craftsmen’s real time demonstration attracts people and on the other hand, people get to learn the traditional woodcrafts and the museum achieve the aim of, apart from preserving historical buildings, educating people and preserving the tradition of olden day. Dr. Mārtiņš KUPLAIS, a professional historian working in this museum, guided us around and told the stories of traditional Latvia life.
A young renovator, Mateusz Niwiński, devotes himself to his favourite job, renovating old wooden house. He has showed us the houses he renovated and his own workshop, and briefed us the current circumstance of the wooden house renovation in Poland. Due to the particular history of Poland, wooden houses in Poland were mostly built up after World War II and many shabby houses are inhabited by the Jews. In Otwock, wooden houses scatter over the whole town. Many of them need proper renovations to sustain for a longer time, but some are even illegally occupied without being claimed by anyone.
Folk Architecture Museum in Sanok is a young open-air museum aiming at bringing the ethnographic knowledge of different period of time in history to the public, especially school kids. The most particular wooden house of all is the Jews house of 100 years old which was the first house moved into this museum. Being the only open-air museum in the most southerly point of Poland, Folk Architecture Museum has gained in popularity among all levels of schools and all age groups. All the wooden houses are relatively new as most of the houses were destroyed during World War II.
Being one of the UNESCO heritage sites, St Michael the Archangel Church in Dębno was a Gothic church built of larch wood in the 15th century. It’s still in use at present for the locals and tourists. On Sundays, the church is always packed with faithful disciples for the Sunday service and curious tourists waiting for going inside the church, opened only 10 minutes for tourists each weekend, to witness the well-preserved interior fittings and paintings. The maintenance is down to the priest who is not just the ‘tour guide’ of this historical church, but also works as a guardian of this small village and surrounding area.
The significance of Kysuce village is the historical forest dead-end railway. Connecting two independent forest railwaysin both Kysuce and Orava regions, this forest railway offered the shortest transportation route of logging industry between these two mountainous regions in the early 20th century. The whole track length extended from 61km when it was first constructed to nearly 110km at the end of 1920s. The most valuable part of the track overcame a noticeable rise of 217.69m on the shortest distance (air line) of 1500m with three pointed dead-end system. This tailor-made narrow gauge railway serves the main purpose of transporting logs out of the forest up in the Tatras Mountain.
Being one of the few living villages listed in UNESCO heritage, Vlkolínec was reluctant to turn itself into a proper museum. A group of volunteers found this remote mountainous village and were stunned by which they still remain the old way of living. As time goes by, however, people move out into the city gradually as there is not much to do in this remote area other than herding animals. Up until now, there are 55 houses standing in the village, but only 6 of them are inhabited by 19 people. Some of them are kept as it was and some are turned into cottages in display. People living there are actually feeling hassled most of the time with people walking around their houses. Occasionally some tourists would abruptly walk into people’s house without knowing they have intruded resident’s privacy. We were lucky that a half-drunken man invited us into his house and told us his stories and the history of this village with a big happy smile on his face.
The Viking ship museum is located at the Roskilde, Denmark. The museum focuses on the preservation, reconstruction and investigation of various Scandinavian boats and ships in the prehistoric and medieval times, but distinguishes itself from others for its hands-on activities.
Visitors not only learn traditional shipbuilding techniques, such as wooden nail making and rope making, but also come on board to experience the real Viking ship cruise!
The museum has many shipbuilders in charge of the ship reconstructions on which they apply the techniques from the old time. Shipbuilders reconstruct ships in the open-air exhibition area, so the public can take a close look at their works.
Old Rauma is the largest Nordic wooden town with over 600 well-preserved wooden architectures from the 18th -19th century, and most of which are privately owned. It is valued for its vernacular architectural heritage, and these houses, workshops and shops are still in use today.
Back in the old days, almost every household had lace-makers making bobbin lace, a technique believed to have been brought by sailors in the 18th century. Although, lacemaking had once brought wealth into the city of Rauma, it is now a declined industry and a cultural heritage practiced and preserved by local people. When making bobbin lace, lace makers need a lace pillow with pin set and wind threads on wooden bobbins, to determine the lace pattern according to the placement of wooden bobbin and pin.
The City Renovation Center exhibits tools and materials used for constructing and preserving Rauma wooden houses, and photos documenting the preservation history of these traditional buildings, are valuable and worth visiting. The center is a place where people can acquire techniques, and obtain knowledge of conserving and renovating the traditional Finnish wooden architecture.
In 1997, Eksjo was awarded the Europa Nostra Diploma for its remarkable renovation of the traditional buildings gives a new life to the old town. Today, Eksjo has become one of the best-preserved timber-built towns in Sweden.
The city of Eksjo has burned down twice throughout its history. In 1568, the town was burn down during the First Northern War, and subsequently rebuilt in a different place that was easier to defend. In 1856, Eksjo burned down for the second time, and the fire had destroyed all of the southern part. In the 1860s, the area was re-planned and re-built, and the fire-protection system was taken into account at this time; therefore, most of the traditional buildings we have seen today are from the 17th - 18th century.
In order to protect wooden houses against fire, Eksjo has several fire-protection measures, for example, using fire-resistant glass windows, and sealing the not-in-use gate, door or window to prevent wind-driven fire from spreading; and installing water sprinkler system on the roof of houses to extinguish or suppress fire, etc... In addition, the old town has efficient alarm system where, when the fire occurs, firefighters will arrive within 5 minutes to put out the fire.
Norsk Skogmuseum (The Norwegian Forest Museum) is located at Elverum, Hedmark County, Norway. The museum aims to provide the knowledge of Norwegian forest culture and life related to forestry, hunting, fishing, and aquarium.
In the museum main hall on the ground floor, many aspects of the forestry, such as timber floating, hunting, forest industry in the old times and the present times, and social conditions in forestry, including living conditions, forest fare, clothes and dress, etc., are well introduced with pictures and exhibits of forest tools and machinery. On the first floor, visitors can see numerous exhibits of hunting, trapping, and fishing in Norwegian’s everyday life.
Outside the museum, there is an arboretum, a botanical garden of trees and bushes, situated in the southeast part of the museum. The outdoor exhibits consist of various devices employed in hunting and trapping, and cabins used during logging, hunting, and fishing from 17th -20th century.
Ski museum is located in the beautiful valley of Morgedal, in Telemark. In the ski museum, visitors can watch the video introduce 4,000 years of skiing history in the multimedia room. The exhibition zone presents many kinds of skis made of wood and artificial materials. There is also a ski-making workshop demonstrating process for making wooden skis.
Part of the collection in the museum is made in the museum workshop. The workshop also accepts custom orders of making wooden skis. The handmade wooden skis were once taken as winning rewards for Australia ski competition.
All the wooden skis produced from the workshop are made by two museum ski makers - Tarjei Gjelstad, and Terje Nilsen Haugen, who also have undergone a project of making the largest wooden ski in Norway. They hope this largest wooden ski in Norway will become a representative landmark of the museum.
Located at Heddal in Notodden municipality, Norway, Heddal Stave Church (Norwegian: Heiterdals kircke) was constructed in the early 13th century. It is the largest among the 28 stave churches remained in Norway today. Stave church is a medieval wooden church of traditional Nordic style.
Heddal stave church is a timber-built church with three small turrets. The church contains numerous symbols of old Christian and heathen traditions. The holy cross on the turrets is the symbol of Christianity, whereas the dragon heads at the gable ends represent the old heathen motifs rooted in Celtic and Germanic sources.
Situated at the Northeastern side of Parc Naturel Régional de la Forêt d'Orient (Orient Forest Regional Natural Park), in Champagne-Ardenne, France, Ecomusée de la Forêt d’Orient (Ecomuseum in the Orient’s Forest) well preserves abundant traditional agricultural machinery from the 16th to 17th centuries.
The open-air museum is dedicated to the memory of agricultural life of the Champagne region in the old days. There are three sites of the museum: the Maison des Jours et des Champs (The “House of days and fields”) where there are several wooden houses exhibiting chisels, ploughs, old tractors, axes, and other farming machines and tools, Boutique du charron (The Cartwright’s Workshop) where the traditional wooden wheels and wheel-making machinery are displayed, and the museum park where visitors can see several wooden barns and feel not only the beauty of France farming village but the tranquility of the country life.
The Maison de l'Outil et de la Pensee Ouvriere (Tool and Trade Museum) is located in Troyes, in a Renaissance style mansion, called Hotel de Mauroy. In 1966, the city of Troyes acquired and entrusted this mansion to the Compagnons du Devoir du Tour de France, an association comprising craftsmen and artisans from the Middle Ages up to now. This association has carefully renovated the mansion and has turned it into a museum.
The museum has a rich collection of over 10,000 tools that were once used for cutting, crafting, and measuring wood by craftsmen, from the 17th to 18th century. Father Paul Feller, a Jesuit priest, is the person who first started to collect these tools since 1958. The museum also displays photos telling the history of logging, sewing, building log houses, making barrels, wheels, and more. Through these tool and photo exhibitions, the museum intends to provide knowledge and arouse the interest of apprentices, craftsmen, amateurs, and many others, about the history and the tradition of craftsmanship in the old days.
Laténium Museum is an archaeology museum located in Hauterive, suburb of Neuchâtel. Its name is a combination of “La Tène”, the name of archaeological site of the Celtic civilization back in the late Iron Age, and the word “museum.”
Inaugurated in 2001, the museum has rich archaeological collections of Celtic artifacts, and those from both older and more recent periods as well. Laténium Museum has a collection of 3000 objects, including a 20-meter long Roman wooden ship discovered in Bevaix.
Apart from indoor exhibition, there is another open-air area within the museum park. The dwellings of the lake villagers could be dated back to 1,000 BC, and the museum has reconstructed several architectures in order to demonstrate the history to the visitors.
Bönigen is a small village in the canton Bern, which is located in the central Switzerland. This small village has an area of 15.12 square kilometers, where steep mountains surround a large part of the area.
The village of Bönigen is famous for its unique decorated wooden houses. Radiating from fountain square, which is the former town center, numerous frescoed houses are scattered within the old town area. Dating from 1549 onwards, these buildings functioned as either dwelling for people or storehouse for cheese.
Many of these wooden dwellings had expanded to house the enlarged family. The original structure and the expanded parts of the house could be differentiated according to the doorway or color of paint. These well-preserved wooden houses in Bönigen are decorated with colorful patterns and images, plus biblical quotes in Gothic and Roman letters that inscribed on the exterior wall of the building. Visitors could easily perceive and understand the value of these cultural legacies.
Located in the north-east of Italy, Trento is the capital of the autonomous province Trentino. Back in the 16th century, it was the location of the Council of Trent, an Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church.
Stelvio National Park, near the historical city of Trento, with an area of 400,000 hectares, is the largest national park in Italy. Founded in 1935, the park is a reserve of several protected forests. A couple of traditional farm houses “maso” and log-cutting sawmills can be found in the realm of park. One of the mills has even been turned into a museum called Ruatti mill, which is open to the public for demonstrating the traditional way of utilizing water power for grinding the grains.
Galleon Andalucia is a duplicate merchant ship of 17th century, which has 4 masts and 7 sails. The ship itself tells Spanish history and is currently berthed at Barcelona for the purpose of promoting tourism. There are 22 crew members on board taking charge of daily maintenance.
For safety concern, the way of constructing the galleon combines modern and ancient methods. The material, for instance, is a mixture of wood and fiber glass which is safer and easier for maintenance. The wood species used to build the galleon are pine and iroko, which are exactly the same materials used in the old days.
The construction of Galleon Andalucia started in December 2008, and finished in February 2010. Experts in different professions such as carpenters, fiber engineers and designers, had assembled in the south of Spain to collaborate on the project.
Established in 1905, the National Coach Museum was first named Royal Coach Museum by Queen Amélia, who was aware of the cultural value of royal ceremonial carriages. The museum had only 29 vehicles in its original collection, and has started to increase its objects of collections after the establishment of Portugal Republic in 1910.
The museum is located within the Royal Riding Arena, which used to be the place for horse-training and horse-riding exhibition and games. It is housed in a building erected in 1787 and decorated with painted ceiling and tiles by several Portuguese artists.
Today, the National Coach Museum has wide collections of objects, including: coaches, berlins, carriages, chaise, cabriolets, litters, sedan chairs, and children’s cart, etc. And the exhibitions in the museum are primarily concerned with topics about the technical and artistic evolution of transportation means used by the European aristocracy dated back from 17th to 19th centuries.
Established in 1750, Burmester is one of the oldest cellars along the Douro River. This cellar has begun the port-shipping business, mainly to the British Isle and the rest of Europe since then, and now, it is a living winery showcased wine-making tradition of the area.
In Vila Nova de Gaia, the city located just across Douro River from Porto, Burmester and many of the other cellars took the advantage of natural moisture within the area, and built wine houses with thick walls and wooden ceiling to create a suitable environment for preserving wine. However, barrels of wine stored in this area were actually transported from the Upper Douro Valley, which is also one of the oldest vineyard regions that produces one of the best wines in the world, the Porto Wine.
Cut through by the Carpathian Mountains in the middle, Romania has the mountainous terrain from the centre to the west. Because of the geographic barrier, the north-west of Romania has a peasant life in contrast to the tourist-oriented prosperity of the south-east Romania. Maramure?, a typical mountainous area situated at the north-west border amongst Romania, Hungary and Ukraine, due to its geographic location, has been handed between Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and CzechoSlovakia over last hundreds of years, and therefore the wooden buildings, interior and exterior decoration, and people’s life style related to wood are all affected by the past sovereign.
The ASTRA Museum of Folk and Civilization, one of the ASTRA National Museum Complex, is recognised as the largest permanent open air ethnographic exhibition in Europe. The chief director of National Museum Complex, Valeriu Ion Olaru, kindly showed us the distinctive wooden architecture within the open air museum and allowed us to go into buildings to explore its interesting stories and facts.
Apart from the museum, Mr. Olaru guided us into the largest restoration institute, situated next to the open-air museum, to show the scientific way of restoration and preservation of various types of material, including wood, metal, fabric, etc.
National Village Museum, located in the Herastrau Park, north of Bucharest, was created by Dimitrie Gusti, Victor Ion Popa, and Henri H. Stahl in 1936. From 33 units of authentic wooden constructions on the first phase of building up the Village Museum to the present 272 units, village museum has strived to preserve the traditional farms and houses from all over Romania.
The homesteads including living houses, barns and stables from different area of Romania that are all displayed in this museum represent the various lives across Romania, from farmer life, poor peasant life, rich peasant life to merchant life. Various houses in people’s daily life such as public houses (pubs), churches, mills and even playgrounds are in the range of wooden representation.
Malacca, located in the southern region of Malay Peninsula, is the third smallest state in Malaysia. The capital Malacca City is 148 kilometers southeast from Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. And the city has also been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008.
Malacca has been colonized by the Europeans for more than 400 years. Portuguese was the first invader after Sultanate in 1511. Malacca then became a strategic base for expansion and also for spices trading. After Portuguese, there were also Dutch, British, and Japanese colonization. It was not until 1946 that the Malays toppled the regime and Malacca finally became part of Malayan Union, which later became Federation of Malaya and then eventually Malaysia.
Malacca is therefore deeply influenced by the history of foreign occupation, which can be found not only in material remains, but also in cultural tradition, such as food, dance, and festivals. The Stadthuys, Museums of History and Ethnography, has abundant records of the past stories, especially the sailing history, which includes models of ancient wooden boats and archives.
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.
Tam-Awan Village is located in Pinsao Proper, Baguio City, and it is famous for reconstructions of traditional wooden houses that recreate scenery of the native village in the area. Tam-awan now has seven Ifugao huts and two Kalinga houses.
The Ifugao hut is compact and relatively simple, and usually made of hard wood. The Kalinga house, on the other hand, is more spacious and is made of pinewood. All of these huts and houses are built by using mortise and tenon joint without a single nail.
Apart from wooden houses, Tam-awan village is also a venue for art exhibitions and workshops, with the aim to draw more people’s attention to the traditional culture and offer a platform for artists to perform their art.
Penang, located on the northwest coast of Peninsula Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca, is the second smallest Malaysian state and the eighth most populous.
Penang is composed of two parts – Penang Island, where the governmentis, and Seberang Perai on the Malay Peninsula.
George Town is the busiest and largest city in Penang. The inner city of George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there are numerous century-old wooden houses standing by the street. Grand Chinese clan buildings and kongsi with magnificent structure and exquisite wooden carvings scatter in the city and tell of prosperity and the history of the immigrants.
Carey Island, located 3hours of drive away at the southwest of Kuala Lumpur, is home to the native Mah Meri tribes, who are known for their magnificent wooden craft and masks.
The Mah Meri model the masks after the ancestral spirits,who they believe can ward off evil spirits and solve problems.
Samri Abdul Rahman, a renowned artist of traditional Mah Meri tribe wooden mask-making, shares with the world the mystic cultural significance of the Mah Meri woodenmasks. Through a demonstration of mask-designing and carving, Samri also shows how he blends in imagination and tradition believes into his profession.
Kuching is the most populous city of the East Malaysian state of Sarawak, which is located on the island of Borneo. The city covers an area of 1,863 square kilometers (719 sq mi) and has an estimated population of 1 million.
Sarawak has more than 40 sub-ethnic groups, including Iban, Chinese, Malay, Bidayuh, Melanau and Orang Ulu…etc. Since each group has their distinct language and culture, this multi-ethnic diversity has provided Kuching region a rich cultural and linguistic landscape.
We traveled to the suburb of Kuala Lumpur where we have visited National University of Malaysia and Seri Menanti. These visits allow us to understand better the uniqueness of traditional Malay houses.
National University of Malaysia is 30 km away from KL downtown, there is another delicately carved traditional Malay house, which used to be owned by an aristocrat back in the early 1900s. The structure of the house is well kept now for research purpose.
Seri Menanti is about 100 km away from the southeast of KL downtown,. It is the royal capital of the state of Negeri Sembilam. One of the landmarks within the small town is Istana Lama Seri Menanti, a 4-story wooden old palace, which was constructed without a single nail.
Kuala Lumpur is the federal capital city of Malaysia and located in Peninsular Malaysia. The city covers an area of 243 square kilometres (94 sq mi) and has an estimated population of 1.6 million. It is the cultural, financial and economic center of Malaysia.
We visited Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman, a preserved traditional Malay house, and an exhibition on wooden arches in the National Museum of Malaysia. In addition to these, the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), a governmental organization in forest management and sustainable development is also one of the remarkable places we have visited within downtown Kuala Lumpur.
Gudingzi village (now renamed as JinJiang village) is located in the Fusong County, is famous for its wooden constructions. It has a history of 400 years and there are 44 households left in the village. Here, Manchu is the main ethnicity.
Due to its high altitude of 900 meters, there is only little agricultural development in the village. Therefore, the villagers mostly rely on gathering and exchanging vegetable, medicine and pine nuts from woods for money and food.
The harmony way of living with the nature has captured the attention nationwide, so does the wooden houses. Gudingzi village is now preserved as the last wooden house village at Changbai Mountain.
The Camellia in Zixi Mountain in Chuxiong is world-famous and it attracts numerous tourists every year. The video is introducing the Camellia, including the size of flowers, the number of petals and the explanation of natural variation. Furthermore, we can see these 600-year-old Camellias and those with natural variation.
Manyangguang Forestry mostly lived by Dai people now, who use Dai language still. Dai language is 80 percent similar to Thai language in Thailand. Some Manyangguang schools teach bilingual languages (Dai language, Mandarin). To the overall village, there are no much differences from a decade ago to now, but the original wood tiles have been replaced by modern cement. Traditional Dai houses - so called Ganlan-style Architecture (Stilt-style Architecture), which often kept animal on the ground floor, and people live above. The usually use selected wood to build the Ganlan- style Architecture, because selected wood can prevent termites from decay the wooden column. Dai people also know that chicken eats termites, so they raise chicken too. In addition, they raising buffalo and pigs, so that mosquitoes will attack livestock rather than human being, deducting the chance people getting malaria.