Front Room Gallery, Newcastle — curated by Jen Denzin
The written symbol for wood, is a pictogram representing the roots, trunks, and spreading branches of a tree. This material is the second of the Five Elements.
Wood is very important in Chinese life, and enters largely into the composition of houses, being also universally employed as fuel.
Although a poetic appreciation of the beauty of trees has always been a characteristic of the Chinese people, yet, on account of the necessity for the provision of abundant fuel, and the high cost of wood as a building material, a continual process of deforestation has greaty reduced the timber supply of the country.
The general destruction of forests bears fruit in the train of calamities due to flood, or drought, consequent on the removal of Nature’s covering of the earth. Of recent years, however, the Chinese government has recognised that forestry is of prime importance, and has taken steps to check the wholesale demolition of the trees of the country.
*taken from Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs, Tuttle Publishing, 1974, C.A.S. Williams, Fourth Revised Edition, 2006