by Margaret E Davis
A quest for books, adventure, and more in the cradle of the printing arts
Seven years after the events at Tiananmen Square, bookbinder Margaret E. Davis moved to Beijing to learn traditional Chinese bookbinding, make a pilgrimage to the far-west caves where the oldest, dated, printed book in the world was discovered, and find modern practitioners of ancient crafts. Part bookbinding manual, part travel memoir, and part romance, China Under the Covers delves deep into the Middle Kingdom.
On reaching China Margaret sought out the history of books on paper, from the workrooms of Beijing’s National Library of China to the Silk Road outpost of Dunhuang. This book skilfully incorporates an illustrated manual of instruction of four of the oldest methods of binding in China, including images of tools and artefacts, with a rending of the culture, both ancient and modern that she encountered on her travels.
Margaret Davis founded Ma Nao Books in 1995 in Portland, Oregon. She trained as a letterpress printer. In 1996 Margaret won a grant to study bookbinding and related arts in the People’s Republic of China. Along with an apprenticeship at the National Library of China, Margaret, who speaks Mandarin, visited traditional printers and conservators on travels throughout the country.
China under the Covers – Margaret E. Davis – Portland, Oregon, 2017. ISBN 978-0-9670264-4-2. 23cms, 190p, illust. Colour printed stiff card cover. £25 (including UK carriage)
TRACEY ROWLEDGE – Award Winning Design Binder and Instructor, says ‘This is a wonderful book which I have strongly recommended to my students as a great way to learn and develop confidence in tooling. I am delighted to see it reprinted as it has long been hard to find and costly.’
TREVOR LLOYD – Period Finisher and Bookbinder – says ‘I have only recently discovered this book, but I can honestly say it is a little gem. There is something for everyone in it from the ardent professional to the budding amateur. I can highly recommend it’
An EDITION LIMITED to 500 copies. Hardbound, purple cloth, gilt. 227 x 152mm, portraits frontis, xviii, 82p, vi.5 mono. plates. 2 additional colour plates. £20 (plus £2 UK carriage)
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