Traditional wooden houses are an integral part of the identity of the majestic Ifugao rice terrace landscape as the architectural heritage of the indigenous Ifugao people. These traditional houses function as family residences and serve as rice granaries, refuge, and special housing for unmarried people in the community. In as much as the materials used for the construction of the traditional house are sourced from the surrounding wood lots and communal forests, the traditional house serves as an important record of the history and value of indigenous and endemic trees found in the central Cordillera mountain range. This study identified 206 traditional houses in Kiangan town, and from these houses, transverse sections of house parts from the dismantled and standing houses were examined. Thirty-two species of mostly indigenous and endemic trees were used to construct traditional houses across four periods: (1) before 1931, (2) 1931–1960, (3) 1961–1990 and (4) 1991–2020. The Ifugaos consistently utilized the preferred wood species such as Amugawon (Vitex parviflora), Udyo (Pterocarpus indicus), and Itangan (Weinmannia luzoniensis) for traditional house construction. Wood species such as Yakal (Shorea astylosa), Gmelina (Gmelina arborea), and Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) were also identified from recently constructed houses. The disappearance of certain premium hardwoods and a shift to commonly available but less quality wood is noticeable, as the former were over-utilized but never mass-propagated. Finally, a conservation planning workshop on traditional houses was organized among local homeowners, barangay, and municipal officials, agreeing on the following points: (a) creation of an ordinance to protect and conserve existing traditional houses; (b) development of information, education, and communication materials on the importance of traditional houses; and (c) enhanced collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders.
The website oldestwoodenobjects.net serves as a platform for the scientific community to collect, display and share early traces of wood utilization. It also serves educational purposes, to teach a wide audience about how multifunctional and durable wood can be, when wisely used. The collection of objects is large and diverse, ranging from simple tools for hunting, like spears, to musical instruments of the high culture, such as violins. The first means of transport, dugout canoes or early infrastructure, like water wells, are remarkably old. Due to weathering, early buildings or constructions are poorly or only partially preserved. But some sacred buildings that are still in use today have an impressive age. At the time of writing this manuscript, a total of 211 prehistoric and historic wooden objects from around the globe were gathered and can be compared at the online application. The oldest item on the list is from 300 000 years before present. To continue expanding the database, the community is encouraged to contribute new entries.
Wooden shingles have been known in Europe and other regions worldwide for several thousands of years. They are usually split, and according to handicraft rules, as well as historical literature, a split surface has many advantages. It is more flexible, more elastic, stronger, and less exposed to cupping than a sawn surface because no fibers have been cut. It also follows wood rays; it is more durable than a sawn surface because cut fibers absorb more moisture, creating good conditions for fungal growth. However, because sawing is the main procedure for dividing logs into timber, sawn boards are currently used for roofing. The short life span of such roofing has often been discussed by craftsmen. In this study, a 37-year-old roofing was evaluated to determine the important parameters of high-durability sawn boards. Results showed that the presence of juvenile wood, fiber deviations, and knots reduced the durability of these boards. Therefore, sawn boards of the same wood quality as split shingles may have the same durability.
Stringed musical instruments, which have a long and rich worldwide cultural history, have slowly evolved from ancient lutes to contemporary instruments such as the Italian mandolin. The mandolin has been an iconic element of Italian musical tradition and culture for more than 400 years. In this study, we report on the acoustic characterization of modern Italian mandolins in terms of bridge admittance, sound radiation, and modal shape measurements. The vibrational behavior of the soundboard was studied by means of finite element analysis (FEA) to establish a link between the mechanical and physical properties of wood and the acoustic response of the instrument. This study presents some important features of the acoustic behavior of mandolins and sheds some light on the influence of wood properties on the instrument’s timbre and its variability.
The prehistoric salt mine in Hallstatt is one of the most prominent archaeological sites in Europe. A huge demand for timber within this complex Bronze Age mining structure required a sophisticated transport system. Although research related to wood transport had been done, further information was needed to reconstruct the whole process of transportation. In this study, wood species identification of wedges, withies, and residues was carried out to address old and emerging questions related to ancient wood transport. It was found that mainly hardwoods were used for the specialized parts in the transport system and that the harvesting season of withies is similar to that of mining timber, namely outside the vegetation period.
The Wayang golek rod puppet theatre of Sunda in West Java was imported from the coastal (pasisir) area of Java in the nineteenth century. This art uses wooden figures, but in terms of repertoire, is related to the shadow theatre (wayang kulit) of the island. This article describes the construction of puppets and notes the importance of wood/ tree as the image of the cosmos via the kayon (“tree of life” puppet). The dance of this tree puppet relates to the banyan tree in traditional thinking. The paper explores the legend of Sunan Kudus, one of the nine wali songo (Islamic “nine saints’), who is accredited with establishing the wooden puppetry in the sixteenth century. The rod puppet art, woodworking, Islamic teaching and Chinese influence are intertwined in early stories of Muslim heritage. Though firm historical data about the rod puppet theatre only began to be recorded in the nineteenth century, families who performed wayang golek in West Java all migrated from the North Coast areas, where Chinese heritage in wood working communities is found and the preference for carved wooden figures was probably affected by the Chinese-Indonesian aesthetics of these enclaves, establishing links between wood puppetry, Islam, and Chinese influence. This study based on anthropological research with puppet masters in West Java, coupled with the history of wood crafting in Java, unpacks metaphors of the banyan tree and redresses the lack of discussion of Chinese contributions to Indonesian wooden puppetry due to Indonesian anti-Siniticism.
Cherry blossom, sakura, is one of the visual symbols of Japan. For Japanese people it represents the beauty and fragility of life. Cherry tree belongs to the Rose family, which includes nearly 3000 different sub-species of flowering plants. Prunus serrulata, sometimes called as Oriental Cherry, is a species native to Japan, Korea and China. In Japan, cherry trees are roughly divided in yamazakura, wild mountain cherries and satozakura, cultivated cherry trees growing in residential areas. Moilanen’s research concentrates on the special properties of yamazakura, and its use in manufacturing printing blocks for traditional ukiyo-e woodblock prints. The unique craft of ukiyo-e is gradually fading into history due to lack of successors. Difficulties in finding proper yamazakura wood material for making the printing blocks add to the problem. Moilanen gives an overview to the art of ukiyo-e and the present day situation in printing block manufacturing. Her article also includes an introduction of other wood qualities used in Japan for printmaking and a short report about a Finnish attempt for finding an alternative wood material to yamazakura. Research on heat-treated alder and birch was conducted in Aalto University in Helsinki 2008–2012. Finally, the current state of yamazakura in Japan is estimated, and the future prospects of ukiyo-e printmaking.
In Europe, from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, intarsia and marquetry woodworks relied heavily on the use of spalted wood (wood colored by fungi) especially the blue-green stained wood from the Chlorociboria species. Although the use of spalted wood is well documented in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and England, little is known about how guild traditions migrated from Spain during European colonization. This research sought to determine if the techniques or woodworks of the time moved to the viceroyalty of Peru. While numerous examples of spalted marquetry have previously been found in Spain, all were made by German artisans and imported to the country. For this research, only one piece of spalted furniture was found in Peru, and it was of English origin. Noting Spain’s lack of production of spalted woodworks and the few pieces found in Peru, it is likely that this niche product did not move to Peru with Spanish colonists and may have instead come over later with English colonists in the 1800s when spalted wood was popular in that region.