Welcome to baoku, the online learning library of the Confucius Institute at Mason. Baoku, in Chinese, means "treasure trove"—we hope that you find the site's useful information to be just that.

Traveling Trunk

Bamboo Book

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants and can be easily recognized by its vertical stems. Native to China, bamboo is used to make a wide variety of products including flutes, writing brushes, chopsticks, cooking utensils, and even paper.

Early Chinese writing was done in vertical columns (4). One strip of bamboo supplied the perfect amount of writing space. For a longer poem, multiple strips could be woven together, side by side, with two pieces of horizontal thread.

Bamboo is incredibly resilient and will return to its original vertical position even if strong winds bend the hollow stems of this plant. Because of its strength and resiliency, it has been used in Asia instead of steel to make scaffolding for high-rise buildings. Due to its ability to withstand strong typhoon winds, bamboo has become a key renewable resource in the construction industry worldwide.

The strength of bamboo has led Chinese people to view it as a symbol of resilience (5). Although the stems are very strong, the leaves can be quite delicate. This characteristic has caused the plant to be linked with the ideals of modesty.