By Joseph McDermott
This publication offers with a variety of concerns at the background of the publication in overdue imperial China (1000 to 1800), typically desirous about literati courses and readers within the reduce Yangzi delta.
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Extra info for A Social History of the Chinese Book: Books and Literati Culture in Late Imperial China
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. 120 Far less speculative is the evidence of greater stratification within the ranks of woodblock carvers by skills, location, and connections.
The response of Hu Mao and other Ming workers with woodblocks to these working conditions, when they were sober, can easily be imagined. Yet, no Ming account records any collective activity by them other than for, perhaps, religious worship and mutual support. 146 This vignette of “a proto-industrial proletarian” suggests a sharp social divide between woodblock carvers and the literati authors of the texts they cut. Often that must have been the case, Tang Shunzhi’s sympathy being more the exception than the rule.
Consider first the matter of binding. 71 In contrast to the two kinds of book binding more commonly used from the tenth to the sixteenth centuries — that is, wrapped-back binding and butterfly binding with a stiff cover and pasted spine — stitched binding avoided the troublesome pastes that all too often in these other binding methods failed to hold the folded paper sheets together. Instead, it relied on puncturing the folded sheets with a sharp awl and threading them, with the aid of a press, into an evenly tied collection of pages.