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SOCIETY & CULTURE

Town’s Economy in Splinters After Rare-Wood Bubble Bursts

The China Classic Industrial and Art Exhibition City is seen in Xianyou county’s Bangtou town. Construction of the 57-acre site began in August 2011. Now the project, with a budget of 2.1 billion yuan ($334 million), is still incomplete because the developers are rumored to have fled overseas after heavy losses from the project. Photo: Caixin/Liang Yingfei
The China Classic Industrial and Art Exhibition City is seen in Xianyou county’s Bangtou town. Construction of the 57-acre site began in August 2011. Now the project, with a budget of 2.1 billion yuan ($334 million), is still incomplete because the developers are rumored to have fled overseas after heavy losses from the project. Photo: Caixin/Liang Yingfei

For a century, Xianyou, a small county in the southeastern province of Fujian, has been a mecca for people in love with art and furniture made from redwood.

The rich and powerful flocked into the county in the city of Putian each year to roam the streets in search of sculptures and pieces of furniture carved out of top-grade redwood.

The classification “redwood,” a general term for a wide range of rare woods, includes Pterocarpus santalinus, commonly known as red sandalwood; Pterocarpus macrocarpus, or the Burma padauk; and Dalbergia cochinchinensis, or Thailand rosewood.

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