The History of Traditional Chinese Binding
In this research, I would like to talk about some history of binding books in China. As is known to all, China is a country with an ancient civilization. The records of letters appeared as early as 4000 years ago. These letters revolved over a thousand years into the Chinese we use now. Printing, paper making and bindi8ng also evolved over thousands of years. Throughout the history pf the spread of Chinese characters, from oracle to the present, the way of communication has gone through many forms such as oracle bones, bronze, bamboo, silk, carving stones, rubbings, writing and printing. Among them, the oracle bones, bronze and stone carving can be seen the predecessor of books. However, they are not book and they do not have binding.
Jian ce binding is the earliest binding method in the true sense of China. it is a book made of bamboo and wood with holes in it. And all the pieces were connected by ropes. The title was putted in the back of the last bamboo piece. When the Jian ce was rolling up, we can see the title above the book. This kind of binding form were used during Shang and Zhou dynasties. When the paper was made and used in the book, this binding form was replaced by other binding forms.
Then, scroll binding and folded binding went into the history. Scroll binding form consists of four parts, namely, scroll, scroll, and belt. It is similar to Jian ce binding with different materials. The head of a roll is usually attached to a piece of paper or silk called "float", which is tough and unwritten. The head is then tied with a silk "band" to protect and bind the scroll. This kind of binding always used in binding drawing and writing works. Folded binding is a long scroll, along the book space, one back and one positive fold, forming a rectangular fold. The first and last two pages of hard paper binding form. It is totally different from the two binding forms I wrote before. It seems much like the books now. The ancient Buddhists, perhaps influenced by the Buddhist sutra binding from India, prefer to use the folded folder binding.
Then the butterfly binding and back binding appeared. These two binding methods were similar. Butterfly binding is the predecessor of back binding. In the process of long-term reading, the connected part of folding books is often broken. After breaking, there is a situation of one page and one page, which gives people enlightenment, and gradually appears the bookbinding system with pages. It appeared in the late tang dynasty and prevailed in the song dynasty. It is a binding form in which the leaves of the book are arranged according to the middle slit, the printed side is turned in and folded in half. Then the middle slit is used to align the pages of the book, stick to another wrapping paper with paste, and finally cut into a book. When people reading these kind of books, the pages just like butterfly and this is the origin of its name. However, people found that this kind of binding will make book has many white pages. Then, they change the direction of the fold. And this kind of binding is back binding.
Finally, line binding appeared. It is a binding form in which the pages are bound together with the front and back over. It used in the recent hundreds of China.
I really consider the traditional bindings are so amazing and they can bring me ideas to mix them with new things.
A book called: 《中华印刷通史》
11/15/2018 07:22:16 pm
It is really facinating how advanced asian cultures were in book binding and paper making compared to european culture. I felt like I learned quite a bit about scroll making from your research, as well as, butterfly binding. Your research was very thought out and well done! I would have loved to have read even more about Chinese binding from you. Well done!
11/15/2018 09:01:49 pm
Jian ce binding that is with bamboo and wood with holes in it, sounds beautiful and very creative. It would be cool to experiment with these techniques. I'm interested in learning more about the Shang and Zhou dynasties. It was a lot of great information.
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