I recently posted a few images from an old chinese calligraphy workbook I bought earlier this year. I like the asemic qualities of oriental scripts and I was curious about the physical qualities too, particularly their papers and bindings. This one is bound with fabric cloth over wood covers – very faded and well-worn, suggesting that this was an oft-used book, or just that it may have been severely neglected.
The book is a concertina format and as such, has no spine board. This appears to by typical as there is also a small tab poking out from the bottom – apparently this is so that it can be easily identified when on a shelf with other books:
There is an air of faded elegance about it that becomes more attractive as you examine it closer.
The concertina binding is not particularly strong and this book has become separated into three pieces.
As previously mentioned, the book is a sort of concertina binding – but different from what I have generally known. The basic form is a simple zig zag on a long sheet:
But this is constructed with a slight difference:
The fore edges are glued together to form a more rigid page, and discourages opening out too far.
The paper is also curious.- it appears to be a composite of backing sheets, printed sheets and a sort of paper tape holding it all down…
If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you may notice something familiar about these images. I made a composite image of the background textures for the cover of my first asemic book ‘Four Fools’ more images of which can be viewed here, and the book itself can be bought here and by clicking on the link in the left hand menu.