Chapter

The Making of an Imprint in China, 1000–1800

Joseph P. McDermott

in A Social History of the Chinese Book

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9789622097810
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206557 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5790/hongkong/9789622097810.003.0002
The Making of an Imprint in China, 1000–1800

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This chapter describes William Milne's exceptionally informative early nineteenth-century account of woodblock book production. It first presents Milne's account of the different stages in the production of woodblock imprints and explains their implications for workers' wages and book prices. It also explores the relative cheapness of woodblock imprints, by examining certain late fifteenth- and sixteenth-century technical changes in Chinese imprint production that simplified and hastened the production process. In addition, the life of the workers themselves, especially the carvers, and how they responded to the changing technical and economic circumstances of their craft in the sixteenth century, are covered. The future of woodblock production lay with the artisans.

Keywords: William Milne; woodblock imprints; woodblock book; China; carvers; Chinese imprint

Chapter.  13440 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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