Bangchung, Bamboo Container
- How Bangchugs are made
- Technical Details
Traditional handmade Bangchungs are made from unique bamboos that grow on the hills of Eastern as well as central Bhutan
This was originally used as a plate for eating rice throughout historical times and even today people in the east, carry food and snacks during long travel. Although Bhutanese have started using modern plates, Bangchungs are popular and used as offering bowls in temples, special occasions and traditional rituals\Most Bhutanese also use Bangchungs at home as decor items or as gifts for friends and relatives.
Bangchung is made of Yula, a type of bamboo, and with beautiful patterns. They are mainly made for decorative purposes. They are also used for storing sweets and snacks. The rim of the bangchung is made from using bamboo or cane strips and woven with cane thread.
Bangchung Nyicema is also made of Yula with colored patterns. It is used as serving plates, and the traditional practice of serving snacks or food to guests and lamas. It has a swastika pattern that symbolizes permanent friendship and faith.
Bangchung Tangkama is a larger version among different types of Bangchungs. It is used for carrying pack lunch and as a packing container to send parcels. People also carry religious offerings to the monasteries and other places of religious and cultural significance.
Life for the early Bhutanese would have been much more difficult had it not been for the cane and the bamboo. Stating the obvious, early products would have been in the state of rudimentary; rough and coarse. However, as time rolled on, people learned the aesthetic aspect of a product. Now the cane and bamboo products come with beautifully woven patterns or woven with colored strips.
The products are then polished and glazed for durability. For some communities in Bhutan, it is an important source of livelihood. These products in places like Kangpar in Trashigang, Thangrong, Silambi, and Gongdu in Mongar, Bjoka in Zhamgang, Rukha and Saephoog in Wangdue, Tsawang in Lhuentsi, Thraphel in Trashiyangtshi, and in many dzongkhags in Southern Bhutan.
The stages of making a Bangchung
1. Harvesting and cross cutting of bamboo.
2. Spliting and seasoning
6. Layout. and Design
- Material: Cane/Yula
- Diameter: 8.5 inches
- Indigenously produced in: Bjoka, Panbang, Zhemgang Dzongkhag.
- Approximate weight in kilograms: 0.5kg - 1kg
Bangchung making is a special craft, which the people in Bjoka village have mastered over the years. They use a special type of bamboo called Yulay, or the small climbing bamboo. Yulay can easily take the colors while dyeing unlike other types of bamboos. Traditionally bamboos are harvested at the peoples' convenience around the year. However, it's been around a decade now that the department of the forest has implemented a time for harvest. People are now not allowed to harvest between the months of April to September. After the bamboos are harvested, it is cut into pieces depending on the size of bangchung that one weaves. These pieces are split into outer and inner parts and dried. Traditionally, it is woven into bangchung after it is freshly sliced however, today they stock it as they have only a few months to harvest the bamboos. The sliced bamboos are seasoned for at least three weeks before they dye. While dying, it is first dyed in yellow turmeric first. This is used as the primary color and let it dry. It is then dyed in different colors. They mostly use commercial dyes.