Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Some Chinese Woodworking

The woodworking community buzzes about Japanese woodworking (though not enough!), but what about Chinese woodworking? It's hard to find info, but this is close. In this Nova programme, Bashar Altabba, an an engineer from Boston, and Marcus Brandt, a timber framer from Pennsylvania, travel to China to help Professor Tang reconstruct the Rainbow Bridge, built in the Song dynasty. All they have to go on in a 900 year old painting. I feel compelled to warn you that there is a frustrating bit at the end. Brandt extolls the workmanship and joinery of the Chinese in the last 5 seconds of the programme, but you only see it for a minute, and of course you never see that part of the construction! Another side-point: Professor Tang explains that the aesthetic of the reverse curve is attractive because it resembles the body of a woman. I couldn't help but wonder how the group dynamics would have been effected by having women on the team...and I'll leave it at that.

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