Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hundreds of years of bookbinding in an hour can make your head spin

... but luckily the students at Warner Pacific College could handle it. 
After a presentation on Chinese bookbinding this month, Warner Pacific students take a look/feel of my book-model petting zoo.

As part of Pamela Plimpton's Global Literature class, students read Dai Sijie's Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, a book about the influence of books on two teenagers undergoing "re-education" during the Cultural Revolution in the early 1970s. I follow up with my summary of inventions leading to the book, basically all the Chinese innovations that made Dai's sweet breezy tome possible.

Four books and a box: the xian, baobei, hudie, and jingzhe
books show how one of the world's most
important cultural tools came to be.
Speaking of possibilities, it occurs to me I did not post an official reveal of the project that is central to my forthcoming Chinese-bookbinding book. Along with travel stories, cross-cultural shenanigans, language lessons, and romance, readers will learn how to make four of the oldest book forms in paper (except the scroll) and a shutao hard-bound case to hold them.