Glaring Wooden Bowls

The people of Moinba ethnic group took hunt as their way of living long time ago, but now their life has been improved a lot. Even though, the living standard of Moinbas is still rather low, the level of productivity has long been developing slowly owing to the geographical environment and the historical reasons. The Moinbas use the simple slash-and-burn method of agriculture. Fields are left to nature's mercy. Hunting is an important part of survival. Games are distributed among villagers, with the hunters getting double portions. Some games are bartered for grain and other necessities.

There are sufficient bamboos and woods where the Moinbas live. The Moinbas are widely famous for their household handicraft industry. Their workmanship in making wooden bowls and weaving bamboo utensils is ever flourishing. Wooden bowls, which are unique and glaring, attract people’s eyes and gain great reputation both home and abroad.

There is an interesting legend telling the origin of wooden bowl. Long long ago, all bowls Tibetan people used were made of mud. One day, a Moinba carpenter went to the forest to cut wood. Unfortunately, his bowl was pressed into pieces by a tree for his carelessness. In order to make something to hold his food, the smart carpenter made a container out of the wood with his cutting knife. Later, other people got to know about his wood bowl, and they found out that the wood bowl was lighter and more durable. That’s how the wood bowl went into the life of Tibetan people.

Right materials, such as roots of hard trees like azalea trees, or trunks or knots of tung and birch trees, are collected to make wood bowls. Then they are cut, whittled and scraped into the shape of bowls. An exquisite wooden bowl can only be produced after five or six processes. Because these bowls are beautifully patterned, durable and convenient to carry about, they are greatly treasured by Tibetans and Lhobas living nearby. Mahma village, lying in the north of Menyu area, is the well-known “Village of wooden bowl”. The wooden bowls made by the old skilled handicraftsman Garbay are delicate and well known. Many tourists like to buy these small and exquisite wooden bowls at the rural fair and take them home.



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