Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chinese Bookbinding (and Chinese Hanzi)

I went to Barnes and Noble, despite an upset stomach and a headache of horrible proportions. It was only a matter of time before the flu bug bit me, after my three kids having it, one after the other. I saw this book on the discount shelf: Chinese Characters: The Art and Meaning of Hanzi. The black, red and gold cover definitely made it stand out. The pages were sewn together with a red band through holes punched in the margin. Each character occupied one side of a folded page, which was something I'd never seen before.

On the copyright page, a paragraph explains Traditional Chinese Bookbinding:

"This book has been produced using traditional Chinese bookbinder techniques, using a method that was developed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and remained in use until the adoption of Western binding techniques in the early 1900's. In traditional binding, single sheets of paper are printed on one side only, and each sheet is folded in half, with the printed pages on the outside The book block is then sandwiched between two boards and sewn together through punched holes close to the cut edges of the folded sheets."

 My first reaction was "Wow!" because it was unlike anything I'd seen before. The binding is definitely more secure on this book than most of the others in my collection. Since each page is doubled and folded over, it takes some getting used to, but it's a unique collection of Chinese characters and their meaning.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2011

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