May 9, 2010

Miaoli Yuanli, hometown of Lin Cao (Lin Grass)


Miaoli Yuanli is a small quiet town famous for its Lin Cao woven. The export of the hats and mats created an economic miracle for Taiwan during the Japanese Colonial Ear. It was quite an exciting era! However, similar to other traditional industries, because of society changes, foreign competition and other factors, Yuanli Lin Cao industry ran into a declining trend and downtime. Fortunately, with the effort of the community to promote Lin Cao, this culture was able to continue.



The slender Lin Cao is a perennial herb which grows in the wetland off the river mouth at the sea. Lin Cao was treated as weeds; however, these weeds not only became the livelihood of the whole village, but also created an economic miracle for Taiwan.

PS: If you look at it closely, the stem of the Lin Cao is in a triangle shape.


The soft stem of the Lin Cao is very tough, not easily breakable. It is an excellent material for weaving because of this special characteristic. It also has functions of dehumidification and deodorization. The hats and mats made from Lin Cao are very elegant, comfortable, and with a fresh fragrant smell. Because of all these characteristics, the Lin Cao products have become hot goods to export.


The weaving process is very complicated and takes time. After the pre-process of harvesting, drying, organizing, filtering, stripping, analysis, and pre-kneading, the weaving can then begin. Now we can watch housewives from Yuanli skillfully weaving in the Lin Cao Cultural Museum or in the Yuanli Community Association.


Beside the hats and mats, different styled daily goods, such as pillows, slippers, cell phone bags, small wallets, and handbag…etc can also be found. They all have very simple design, but with the soft quality and elegant look. I was so impressed with the handbag in the photo. The price is not cheap because it was all handmade.

如果不說,大概會以為這是雙嬰兒鞋吧! 其實,這是用來包覆電腦滑鼠的滑鼠套,不僅防滑還可以吸手汗呢!

I think you may think this is the shoe for an infant, right? Actually, this is a cover of the computer mouse. It does not slip and absorbs hand sweat!


If you would like to know more about Lin Cao culture, you would need to visit the “Lin Cao Culture Museum” The museum is a reconstruction of an old barn. The second floor is a restaurant. The first floor has the exhibitions of the hats and mats culture, Lin Cao products displays, Lin Cao experience area, and farm antique display.



During the peak time of the Lin Cao industry, almost every resident in Yuanli made living from weaving. Women earned higher income than men due to their handmade products. Woman’s income became the main source of a household. At that time, every household would be glad when a baby girl was born. Compared to other areas of Taiwan with the patriarchal attitudes (preference for boys), it was very special.

PS: You can see from the old picture, the girls started to weave with Lin Cao in her young age.


I especially like the model in this exhibit which gives the real scene of the past. From this model, I can see the working process at that time.


The worship table, bench and calendar in the farm house look so real. I really like these two models.


Beside the daily use products, you can also see the art and craft from Lin Cao weaving. I was amazed and still don’t know how this tea set was weaved, especially the tea pot!


In the back of the museum, there are quite a few rural antiquities being displayed. I remember that my grandmother had a similar table and a bench when I was a kid. The cabinet in the back to store the dishes was a must- to- have item in the kitchen for every home in the past. We used to have one; however, it was tossed a long time ago.


The Lin Cao products have a simple and elegant look and also come with a Lin Cao fragrance! Although these handmade products are not cheap, with a good care, they will last very long! Read More


Anonymous said...

You are getting really good at taking pictures! I truly enjoy the close-up, I feel like I'm sitting besides you :-)

Weaving is an art I really respect. From something so fragile, beautiful objects are made.

lechua said...

love the detail covered in ur posts especially on taiwan's cultural traits! and the shoes are adorable!

Rafael Lam said...

I really like those mouse covers, I thought they are baby shoes, so cute!
Very interesting handicrafts of Lin Cao culture!

kristen and micki said...

@Zhu- Thanks for your compliment! :) The weaving art is so beautiful, I like it a lot!

@Lechu- Ha, those are not the shoes, are the computer mouse cover~~


fufu said...

wow... nice!!! how nice this weaving heritage still being protected by the authority :) nice products also :)

Anonymous said...

Lin Cao is so versatile. You can use it to make mats, baskets, shoes and even tea pots!

That's so cool that you even got a museum dedicated to Lon Cao.

In Malaysia, we use another type of plant called Mengkuang. I don't know its English name. But if you Google image "mengkuang", you can get see the plant.

shloke said...

Thank you for sharing another unique story from Taiwan. This article reminds me of Jacky Wu 吴宗宪 and his travel show (forgotten the name). I LOVE seeing that program on Sunday evening. He and a bunch of artists travel all over Taiwan to promote the wonderful places, local businesses and delicious food.

The triangle shaped Lin Cao looks like mini toblerone bar :) Weaved mouse casing??? Looks kinda cute. It must be difficult moving it on a surface.


kristen and micki said...

@fufu- The authority here I think has done a pretty good job in preserving and promoting the cultural heritage.

@Londoncaller- I like the weaving products from South Asia countries as well. Mengkuang products must have very nice fragrance!

@Mylo- Thanks! Sounds like you are enjoying Jacky Wu’s program. He is a character, isn’t he? :)

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