By Joseph McDermott
This booklet offers with a variety of matters at the background of the booklet in overdue imperial China (1000 to 1800), in general interested by literati guides and readers within the reduce Yangzi delta.
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Additional info for A Social History of the Chinese Book: Books and Literati Culture in Late Imperial China
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.
Fearing, then, that Hu had made no preparations for his burial, Tang ended up buying him a coffin made of fine cypress (shan) wood and composing a brief memorial to honor his skilled work. 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.
Working on short-term The Making of an Imprint in China, 1000–1800 37 jobs, perhaps as brief as a day, they would be hired to carve between 100 and 150 characters a day. 2 fen, along with a hard bed and a meager board of two meals. 142 Consequently, these itinerant workers rarely had any savings and at least a sizeable minority had no family of their own (a single imprint title often has carvers of the same surname, and it is likely that they were kin, but few of the 6,000 Ming woodcarvers we know of are identified as father and son).
A Social History of the Chinese Book: Books and Literati Culture in Late Imperial China by Joseph McDermott