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Beijing Diabolo Museum

China Today by Brian Salter,November 28, 2017 Adjust font size:

It's there on the maps for all to see: Beijing’s very own Cephalostachyum Museum; or as some other maps label it, a museum of“empty bamboos.”

Puzzled? I’ll admit I was. According to Wikipedia, Cephalostachyum is“a genus of Asian and Madagascan bamboo in the grass family. The plants are of small to medium size compared to most other bamboo. Their choice habitats are mountain to lowland forests.”

The entrance to the Diabolo museum.

Ever curious, I made my way to Guang’anmennei on Line 7 of Beijing’s subway system. Some 200 meters away is what looks a bit like a building site. And on a wall behind piles of paving slabs is a mural that depicts people playing with diabolos.

A little further on is a traditional quadrangle courtyard house, with“北京空竹博物馆” written over the entrance. According to my smart phone translator, I have arrived at the Beijing Diabolo Museum.

Mystery solved! A Diabolo – or Chinese yoyo, as they are sometimes referred to – is traditionally made of bamboo and wood. It is an empty roller, shaped like a dumbbell, which is spun and tossed on a string tied to two sticks, one held in each hand. An empty roller made of bamboo? The empty bamboo museum? The penny finally drops!

In the entrance to the courtyard is a mural that says it all... this is definitely a place dedicated to diabolos.

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