“The straw mat futon does not sweep the dust, and there seems to be no one on the pine stone.”
Tang Ouyang Zhan in the poem “Yong’an Temple Shines on the Human Room”
And that futon was mentioned.
It can be seen that futons have a long history in Chinese folk.
Remembering thick and crude futons,
There was a warmth in my heart.
The futon is soft and moderately hard, sitting on it, it can absorb sweat in summer and warm your feet in winter. Corn husks, which were originally burned as firewood, were skillfully woven into futons, which was very practical. A futon can be used for many years, until it is old and broken, and it will be torn down and burned as firewood, so that the futon that continues the aroma of herbs and warms the poor years is clean and clean.
Speaking of which, many young people nowadays do not know what a futon is. Futon is a kind of cushion used by rural women in the fifties and seventies of the last century, most of which are round and about forty or fifty centimeters in diameter. It is said that it was originally a round cushion woven from grass for sitting and kneeling so that the dust on the ground would not stain one’s clothes. Later, wise people imitated the form of futons, using local materials and weaving a variety of futons, such as corn husks, wheat straw, and cloth, although these are not made of futon, but collectively called futons.
In the Jiaodong area, futons are mostly made of corn husks and wheat straw, because there are many local corn and wheat, corn husks and wheat straw are naturally everywhere, which is very convenient to use. Walking into the village of Liuwang Town, Qingdao West Coast New Area, we saw this shining craft again – weaving corn husk futons.
In autumn, the wind is crisp, and occasionally there are a few roosters and dogs barking, showing signs of a good harvest everywhere, and occasionally a few people basking in golden corn in the warm sun. A skilful old man sits on a cross and is weaving a futon, her body shining warmly in the sun, and the fragrance of corn husks around her exudes a seemingly absent fragrance, which attracts people’s attention.
I saw that she picked up the corn husk and removed the old ones on the outside and the too tender skins inside, so there was no toughness, and the futons were not strong. Pick out the corn husk in the middle, straighten it, soak it in a pot next to it to make it soft, and then tear the corn husk into even strips along the fiber, and then start weaving. As if making a favorite craft, she forcefully twisted the corn husk into a braid of uniform thickness, using only half of it when weaving, leaving half to connect adjacent knots when weaving. Then the braid is coiled in a circle from small to large, and when it is braided to the appropriate size, the same method is recycled, the stubble part is stacked together and rolled tightly, and the part without stubble is also rolled tightly, and finally the end is tucked into the braid seam, which becomes the prototype of a double-layer futon.
After weaving, it is put under the sun to dry, nailed with a rope buckle, easy to hang and carry, and a dense, endless, joint, interlocking futon is formed.
Diligent countrymen, few kung fu zheng’er eight jing sit on the kang, many times sit on the futon. To cook on fire, you need a futon to pull the wind box; Peeling bud rice in the yard, it will be much more comfortable to have a futon cushion under the butt; Most of the summer dinner in the peasant family is eaten in the yard, and around the dining table, there is a circle of large and small futons, adults sit large, children sit small; Put a futon on the stone at the door to avoid getting cold in summer; Doing needlework, doing household chores… Green and eco-friendly futons are simply a necessity in the countryside.
If it’s time for the New Year, futons will be of great use. Kneeling on it to kowtow to the elders to pay tribute to the New Year, and receiving a piece of octagonal money, the futon can be described as hard work.
I once saw monks and Taoists meditating in temples, and under the monks sat on yellow-cloth-covered futons, on which they were busy purifying sentient beings. When people who receive favors kowtow or return wishes, they must regard futons, incense, wooden fish, etc. as sacred objects in their hearts. In the temple, futons are all placed in the center, and no one dares to trample on them at will. It can be seen that the same artifacts, serving different people in different times and spaces, have completely different social status and efficacy. It shows how many and great the role of futons is.
Traditional folk arts are like blooming flowers, blooming on the fertile soil of mountain villages and countryside. The corn husks that can be seen everywhere are repeatedly kneaded, pulled, and braided by a pair of hands, and gorgeously transformed into futons, shining in the sun, showing their unique value. But time always moves forward, human wisdom and knowledge are constantly improving, and tools and appliances related to human life are becoming more and more advanced.
Yes, changes in human aesthetics and perceptions of comfort have led to the gradual departure of traditional craftsmanship. Although modern utensils are bright and beautiful, they always give people a cold and numb feeling, and the reason why we are struggling to attach ourselves to traditional old crafts is precisely because they are endowed with vivid emotions, and their forms have been inextricably linked to our lives, so traditional craftsmanship will never dissipate in people’s memories.