Reframe Japan, Wabi-Sabi

Susudake ( 煤竹 )

What is Susudake ( 煤竹 )?

In Japan, some kind of special bamboo is considered as something special. The bamboo is called Susudake ( 煤竹 ).

"Susu" ( 煤 ) means soot and "dake" means bamboo ( 竹 ) in Japanese, so Susudake ( 煤竹 ) can be translated to soot-colored bamboo.

Susudake was a member of the ceiling of a fireplace or a roof-ceiling that had been smoked for a long time in a thatched house and it was exposed to heat and soot produced by burning wood indoors for a long time so as to have the surface smoked and turned to dark reddish-brown or caramel brown. Some areas which was roped up are a light color and other areas which was exposed to heat and soot are dark. So, graduations of color is preferred as an evidence of exposure to heat and soot and the march of time.(Of course, the graduations of color itself is beautiful.)

By the exposure to heat and soot, the surface is hard. So, Susudake is hard to work.

In Japan, thatched houses declined by effects of the rural exodus since thatching is labor-intensive and it is difficult of conducting cooperative work in less-populated area.

So, Susudake has been decreasing every year and the value is very expensive. A Susudake costs us thousands of dollars sometimes.

I am not sure Susudake is considered as something special in other country, however, the act of attaching a high value to classic items is in common in British antiques.

I think having the mindset to take good care of old things is great.

Including Wabi-Sabi, they are sense of beauty in Japan.

This is the Susudake:

Susudake ( 煤竹 )

Susudake ( 煤竹 )

The following photo is a bamboo work. Since Susudake is very expensive, it is sometimes used for Japanese tea ceremony goods, however, the dragonfly made by bamboo is balance toy.

Susudake ( 煤竹 ) dragonfly bamboo balance toy

Susudake ( 煤竹 ) dragonfly bamboo balance toy