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Bamboo is the focus of a major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that explores Japan's ancient craft of basketry.The exhibition also explores other traditional Japanese arts that are entwined with bamboo basketry, such as ikebana flower arranging and tea ceremony.Bamboo is central to Japanese culture, so much so that the Japanese and Chinese character for "bamboo" is part of over a thousand other characters, including those for many items traditionally made of bamboo, such as flutes, writing brushes, boxes and baskets.The exhibition will not travel beyond New York, but is accompanied by a slim but detailed publication, "Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection," with text by Bincsik and photos.It was not until the late 19th century, the exhibition explains, that bamboo craftsmanship began to be recognized as, first, a veritable Japanese decorative art and, later, as a bona fide art form.
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