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A Social History of the Chinese BookBooks and Literati Culture in Late Imperial China$
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Joseph P. McDermott

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9789622097810

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622097810.001.0001

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The Making of an Imprint in China, 1000–1800

The Making of an Imprint in China, 1000–1800

Chapter:
(p.9) 1 The Making of an Imprint in China, 1000–1800
Source:
A Social History of the Chinese Book
Author(s):

Joseph P. McDermott

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789622097810.003.0002

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

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