Art Collection

Object: Birdcage

Object: Birdcage | UTSA Institute Of Texan Cultures

Object Details

  • Date: Late 20th Century
  • Culture: Unknown, likely Texan
  • Medium: Bamboo
  • Accession Number: I-0198aa

This object is a birdcage made of bamboo and designed to resemble a cathedral. The structure is held together with small pins of bamboo and a small amount of adhesive in some of the more delicate areas. The joints are created by taking the two pieces to be joined and drilling holes into them, then placing a smaller piece of bamboo into the holes to hold the two larger pieces together.

Bamboo

Bamboo trees in Kyoto, Japan. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Bamboo is a plant that can grow almost anywhere with little effort. At one time it was found on every continent except Antarctica and Europe. The plant is most commonly associated with Southeast Asia, but there are many different types of bamboo grown around the globe. It is one of the fastest growing plants in the world and some varieties of bamboo can live for more than 120 years. There are anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 different species in the world. Bamboo is a major food source for many different animals, such as the giant panda, red panda and Madagascar‘s bamboo lemur.

Bamboo releases more oxygen into the air and absorbs more carbon dioxide than other plants, which can be very helpful from an environmental perspective. It grows back quickly, allowing it to be cut down as needed without to the worry of the years it would take a normal tree to grow back. Bamboo reaches maturity within 3-5 years unlike many other plants. Many countries count on this renewable resource. Bamboo is also used to prevent soil erosion in places that are having excessive deforestation.

Bamboo is as strong as steel, allowing it to be used as construction material for walls, floors, furniture and art. Many of the objects that we use every day could be made of bamboo. For instance, wooden spatulas or spoons, cutting boards, patio furniture, baskets, or even cabinets. Here in Texas there are several different types of bamboo that can be grown safely and successfully.

— By Abby Goode. Edited by Jennifer McPhail.