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By Joseph McDermott

This publication offers with quite a lot of matters at the historical past of the booklet in overdue imperial China (1000 to 1800), normally considering literati guides and readers within the reduce Yangzi delta.

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Additional resources for A Social History of the Chinese Book: Books and Literati Culture in Late Imperial China

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118 Yet, beginning in the Yuan dynasty and increasingly evident from the late fifteenth century was, in the view of Nagasawa Kikuya and Tanaka Shish¯o, another form of carvers’ work group: the carver whose name was cut into the woodblock had actually become the head of a group of carvers. As head, he arranged not just his own employment but also that of the other carvers in his group, both the experienced and the apprentices. 119 Since many artisans working for commercial publishers in the Song would also have had their own young apprentices, it is hard to think of such a group The Making of an Imprint in China, 1000–1800 35 arrangement as new.

Palm] tree. The sheet is then thrown off; one man will throw off 2,000 copies in a day. Chinese paper is very thin, and not generally printed on both sides, though in some particular cases that is also done. In binding, the Chinese fold up the sheet, turning inward that side on which there is no impression. On the middle of the sheet, just where it is folded, the title of the book, the number of the leaves, and of the sections and also sometimes the subject treated of, are printed, the same as in European books, except that in the latter, they are at the top of the page, whereas here, they are on the front-edge of the leaf; and generally cut so exactly on the place where it is folded that one in turning the leaves, sees one half of each character, on one side, and the other half, on the other.

The production of such flexible but tightly bound volumes, moreover, required fewer workers and permitted a lower level of skill than did other binding methods. 78 But, the major factor in reduced book production costs during the middle and late Ming came from falling labor costs in reproducing the script carved into woodblocks. ” He was, as Milne noted, not a scholar or literatus but a lowly scribe with a few circumscribed skills: “To write this form of the character, is of itself an employment in China.

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