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Spread of the Thread-Bound Book and its Background in Chinese Book History

Posted By admin On 09:23 AM In Past Events 2020-21 | Comments Disabled

2020-21香港大學中文學院學術講座School of Chinese Research Seminar, HKU

Spread of the Thread-Bound Book and its Background in Chinese Book History

Professor Yasushi OKI大木康教授(University of Tokyo東京大學

Time 時間:4pm, Monday, November 23, 2020
Venue 地點: Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
Zoom link will be provided after registration
Language 語言:English英語

Recording link:
https://hku.zoom.us/rec/share/Jt3Hyq2EG9MjXdLVPnpRC-OWJyHQs46LyFajilIUcMeIqa1syKmQE3sHEHiY3rz2.CnCAUNgLjWPFaxKx [1]

The form of books changed from the scroll (juanzi) to bound volumes (cezi) with the spread of printing technologies in the Northern Song dynasty in China. However, the form of bound volume was not thread-bound (xian zhuang) books, which is the most widely used binding of Chinese rare books in library collections today, but instead used “butterfly binding” (hudie zhuang). We can confirm that books printed in the Yuan dynasty mostly adopted the form of “butterfly binding,” yet books printed in the mid-Ming dynasty were in the form of wrapped-back binding (baobei zhuang) or thread binding. We can see the most popular way of binding had changed from butterfly binding to thread binding after the mid-Ming period.
For butterfly binding leaves were glued together, which would not dry up until two weeks later. By contrast, no glue was needed for thread binding, and therefore the finished volumes could be sent to the marketplace as soon as the binding was done. By the end of the Ming dynasty, print culture flourished; both demands for and supplies of books increased unprecedentedly. It is in the context of the publishing boom of the Ming that thread-bound books began to rise to popularity.


OKI, Yasushi is Professor of East Asian Literature at Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo; and 2020 Visiting Professor of the School of Chinese, HKU. The main subject of his research is Chinese Literature of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Prof Oki’s publications include Feng Menglong and the Late Ming Popular Literature (Tokyo: Kyuko-shoin, 2018), Walking Around Gay Quarters in Suzhou (Tokyo: Kyuko-shoin, 2018), A Study of Mao Xiang and His Reminiscences of the Convent of Shadowy Plum-Blossoms (Tokyo: Kyuko-shoin, 2010), A Study of the Publishing Culture in late Ming Jiangnan (Tokyo: Kenbun-shuppan, 2004), A Study of Feng Meng-long’s Shange (Tokyo: Keiso-shobo, 2003), Chinese Gay Quarters: The World of Courtesans in Nanjing, Qinghuai in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (Tokyo: Seidosha, 2002), and so on.


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[1] https://hku.zoom.us/rec/share/Jt3Hyq2EG9MjXdLVPnpRC-OWJyHQs46LyFajilIUcMeIqa1syKmQE3sHEHiY3rz2.CnCAUNgLjWPFaxKx: https://hku.zoom.us/rec/share/Jt3Hyq2EG9MjXdLVPnpRC-OWJyHQs46LyFajilIUcMeIqa1syKmQE3sHEHiY3rz2.CnCAUNgLjWPFaxKx

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