Rattan is a naturally renewable palm that grows in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and Australasia, and is used for furniture, handicrafts, and building material. The majority of the world’s rattans are found in Indonesia’s forests, with the rest of the world’s supplies provided by the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangladesh.
In Indonesia, rattan is harvested in the jungles of Borneo, Sulawesi, and Sumatra. Trading has been mainly concentrated on the island of Java. Over time Cirebon, a port city about 250 km east of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city, established itself as the rattan trade center and subsequent rattan manufacturing center. Rattan is a very popular choice as garden furniture. It actually has so many advantages that what is supposed to be garden furniture can also be used as indoor furniture. It is a very good material mainly because it is lightweight, durable and flexible. The process of weaving rattan and other materials into finished goods generates the so-called wicker furniture, which is not as durable as the pure rattan one.
Rattan garden furniture is solid and can be easily cleaned with the hose, so it is low maintenance It is also waterproof. Rattan tables usually have a glass top which can support weight while providing a straight surface It’s natural, elegant look is simply something that can cater for all tastes. This classic type of furniture that doesn’t care about the latest trends. One more reason to fall in love with rattan is that it is lightweight, so can easily be moved around and carried indoor. It is also child-friendly – it can be shaped into comfortable armchairs and swings, and as it is easy to move around, children may choose their own favorite place for it.
Many of the properties of rattan that make it suitable for furniture also make it a popular choice for handicraft and art pieces. Uses include rattan baskets, plant containers, and other decorative works. Due to its durability and resistance to splintering, sections of rattan can be used as staves or canes for martial arts. Along with birch and bamboo, rattan is a common material used for the handles in percussion mallets, especially mallets for keyboard percussion. It is also used to make walking sticks and crooks for high-end umbrellas.
People often mix rattan and bamboo because they look the same. But they are significantly different. A method used to determine what your furniture is made from is to check if there is a bend in the pole. Bamboo is harder and can not be curved. Rattan, however, is durable and flexible and can be maneuvered in many ways. And here is one interesting fact – traditionally the women of the Wemale ethnic group of Seram Island in Indonesia wore rattan girdles around their waist.■