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Delan willow weaving

Willow products on display [Photo provided to english.jinan.gov.cn]

Delan willow weaving, a popular activity in Gumiao Village, Xianxing district, Jinan, Shandong province is a traditional knitting technique with a history of more than 500 years. Gumiao village is located within the flood zone of the Yellow River. Willows grow easily in the waterlogged environment, leading to the development of willow weaving. Various other willow products are made in the village as well.

Zhang Delan, the founder of Delan willow weaving, has created more than 100 types of colourful willow flower baskets, which are popular in China and abroad. In 2015, Delan willow weaving was listed as a Jinan intangible cultural heritage item.

Born in 1904, Zhang Xisheng is known as the village's resident knitting expert, as he is skilled at skewering and lifting baskets. He has become the first-generation inheritor of willow weaving in Gumiao village.

Feng Peiyun, Zhang Delan, and Zhang Daoxiang are also inheritors of the craft.

Thanks to innovations by successive inheritors, the variety of willow weaving products has increased to more than 400, and they have been exported to the United States, Japan, South Korea, Canada, and other countries, with an annual output value of 4 million yuan ($0.6 million). The art form has developed from traditional small family workshop art to mass industrialization.

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