Yuan-Li Township Triangle Rush Exhibition Hall
Resurgence of a Traditional Craft
The compact venue of Yuanli Township Triangle Rush Exhibition Hall was an old
warehouse of the Shanjiao Community. In 2005, the Yuanli Township Farmera��s
Association (Miaoli County) renovated the facility and designated the venue for the exhibition of the triangle rush ecology and the grass weaving culture. This exhibition hall not only promoted the development of local cultural and creative industry, but also facilitated the revival of the lost weaving craft and culture.
A Century-Old Heritage Links Two Generations
Exhibitions of craft products, models, images, and literature present the development of Yuanlia��s triangle rush weaving industry. Several areas facilitating interactive experiences, exhibitions of grass hat and mat and farm relics, the DIY classroom, the audio-visual room and the outdoor activity area introduce the creative crafts of contemporary artists. This exhibition hall has now become a center that reconnects the a�?weaving grandmasa�? and brought them back to center stage. They took actions to promote and pass down this craft culture to the young people in the local communities. Grass weaving is now an art that links between two generations in Yuanli.
Grass weaving, a century-old industry in Yuanli, began in late Qing Dynasty. During the Japanese Colonial Period, grass-woven products were exported to Japan in bulk. The industry came to its peak in early Republic Era. During this period, almost every household in Yuanli was involved in grass weaving. Women, at that time, were the main breadwinners in this area. It was said that one weaver fed six months at that time.
Get to Know the Grass
Triangle Rush, nin4 cao3 (e�?e?�) in Chinese, was also known as the mat grass, Dajia grass, triangle grass and dragon beard grass. The unique triangular leave extends to A�150 cm and the long straight fiber makes it perfect for weaving. The unique characteristic of triangular rush is the special scent. The plant is grown in a flooded field, like the wet rice paddies. Domesticated triangle rush is harvested in three different seasons and the harvest of each season has a unique characteristic suitable for a unique product. Especially the harvest in autumn, the short, hard and flexible fibers, which are considered prime qualities of triangle rush and therefore more expensive, are suitable for weaving of grass hats and mats. The grass harvested in spring, on the other hand, is more suitable for beginner and the harvest of winter is often made into seat mats and small artworks.
After harvest, triangle rush is sun-dried and rolled into strands. Longer strands are sold at higher prices because they cut down the need for connecting fibers when weaving larger items, like grass mats. Processed grass strands are then piled into a bundle of approximately 6 kg and sold for weaving. A strand of triangle rush is torn, hammered and rolled into thin strips of fiber before it can be put to actual weaving. The thinner the fiber is, the more work it takes, the more intricate it achieves and naturally the products are more expensive.