Huangbian Bag
Huangbian in Guangzhou, China.
July 2017

The design of the Huangbian Bag is based on observations and oral history gathered in the streets of the Urban Village of Huangbian in Guangzhou, China.


Wapke Feenstra, Shaofei Yuang, Tan Yue, Jinglun Zhu, Cathleen Pan, Banyan Commune, Workshops and Villagers of Huangbian.

Nowadays, Huangbian shows no visible heritage of land-use; not even a square metre is used for primary industries. Endless workshops, new skills and export-production have settled on the village land in the past two decades. Villagers are landlords now, and workshops have sprung up on the farmland and mining sites. Rural migrants from elsewhere fill the streets as they go to work, and chat in Mandarin around the pond. Day after day, they repair cars and produce endless flows of shoes, clothes and bags. Their rural heritage is mental and portable, since they had to leave their homeland and go where the labour is. Everybody is on the move, crossing the streets with basic personal belongings like smartphones, keys and wallets; ladies also like to carry a small umbrella, tissues and make-up in their bags. Our street-advisors have strong opinions on what is important when you design a lady’s bag. So we go for that and create a classic and practical design. However, the inside of the Huangbian Bag features two icons of local history: when you open it, you see an embroidered row of the former coal-mining trolleys and the fruit and leaves of the persimmon tree. Huangbian was well-known for this seedless fruit JiXinShi in past centuries. Some say that the dragon that ate the seeds still lives beneath the village.

The bag is produced from high-quality black top leather (outside). The soft lambskin leather on the inside is the colour of grey minestone.

A project by Wapke Feenstra (Myvillages) and Banyan Commune, Times Museum Guangzhou – 2017
– International Village Produce. (With a film – Portable and Hidden Land-Use - co-directed with Shaofei Yuang).