Wicker basket weaving is one of the oldest practices in existence. The word Rattan is a variation on the word Rotan, A Malay word for the creeper plan associated with its Liana characteristics. Furniture made from sections cut from the wood. Rattan also has an inner core that can be removed and weaved into wicker products. If you are old enough you may remember getting canned at school when you got into trouble? Those canes were mostly the same thing.
Cane is the material in its raw form. The out skin of the Rattan stalk is removed and dried to produce a long, sometimes 25 meter or more. The bark resembles a flexible and glossy bark that resists water.
The cane plant provides numerous benefits, mainly the cool touch it provides, Because of the nature of the plant, it cools down in a much shorter period.
Cane has been used for building for thousands of years. In primitive forms, baskets and carry bags were fashioned to allow more items to be carried at one time.
Used in homes as a way to reinforce the structure. Layered in between mud to provide more rigidity to the structure.
Furniture production came about a little later when techniques started being developed to weave the material, creating an entire industry that is still alive to this day.
Weaving a piece requires a large amount of hand skill. Many artisans are getting too old to continue the craft, diminishing amounts of crafts people have created an industry that is sort after for their practicality and not the cost.
Tibetan warriors would weave armor plates out of wicker to thicken the armor and prevent arrows penetrating.
It wasn’t until the 1600’s that caned furniture really became popular in everyday life. Mostly due to cost and availability, it was a preferred furniture for the wealthy in part due to its ability to keep your body from sweating due to a the weaving techniques used to keep the strands open allowing wind to flow through and subsequently keeping the users cooler than the typical alternatives usually heavily upholstered and harboured germs and other parasites left behind, this is way before we even knew what a germ is.
Later on, this furniture style became popular in England as well due to its lightweight and ease of manufacture. The economic ties to the Indian and Dutch communities meant that the furniture gained rampant favor. It became stylish to own furniture made of cane in some way.
Today Rattan furniture is available most for patio and pool ware items, Hard wearing and suited to a wet environment, Modern furniture pieces feature inlays in the backs to help comfort the user and rocking chair manufacturers have also taken favour
with the caned surfaces due to its flexible nature it provides a natural cushion as opposed to hardwoods.