People > China > Hooped Wooden Barrel Maker - Bao Mingpei (promo)

 Jun 28 2021  

Wooden buckets have a long history. Since ancient times, wooden buckets have been necessities in people's daily life. They can be used to hold water, bathe, or hold various items. Hooped wooden barrels are mainly made of iron wire or copper wire as the hoop. Each board of the barrel is fixed and bound together by bamboo pins to make it into the required shape and ensure the joints are tight. Commonly used hooped wooden barrels such as round wooden jars , Octagonal wooden jars, buckets, wooden plates, rice buckets and etcetera. The master who makes wooden buckets is called "a cooper,” also known as “a hooped bucket maker" among people. Master Bao Mingpei, who is nearly sixty years old, is the inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage hooped bucket making skills in Ninghai County, Zhejiang Province. He has been engaged in hooped bucket craft for more than 40 years and is a well-known "hooped bucket maker" in Ninghai. Master Bao said that when hooped bucket craftsmanship was booming, most places have hooped bucket shops, specializing in making, selling, or repairing wooden buckets for people. In addition, there were many coopers who carried bucket tools hanging on their shoulder, shouting in the streets and alleys asking people for making or repairing wooden buckets. The wood material used in the hooped buckets includes Neem, Camphor, Fir, and other tree species. Nowadays, some people choose Mahogany as the raw material to make hooped bucket crafts. The hoop used in the traditional hoop buckets is made of bamboo strips. Later, with the continuous improvement of the craft, iron wire or copper wire is often used as the hoop. Commonly used tools for hooped buckets are different types of planers, shaper, knives, hand saw, winding saw, axe, and etcetera. The hooped bucket is mainly handmade. Master Bao said that it usually takes one or two days to make an ordinary bucket, and it takes at least three or four days to make a larger bucket. With more and more use of aluminum products and plastic products, the demand on wooden buckets has gradually decreased, and the inheritance of hooped bucket craftsmanship has faced a great challenge. Nowadays, with the support from the government, Master Bao Mingpei has established the Dexinfang Art Gallery in Huchen Township, Ninghai County, which is mainly used to display hooped buckets and jars for tourists, so that the traditional technique of hooped buckets can be inherited and promoted.