Chinese artist saves lost art of dragon scale bookbinding

By April 3, 2018Arty, Culture

Artist Zhang Xiaodong spends his time at his studio in Beijing recreating a lost Chinese bookbinding art.

The art can be traced back over 1,000 years to the Tang dynasty where dragon scale bookbinding was once reserved for the very wealthy and privileged of the Chinese people. Each piece was original and exquisitely hand made and passed down from generation to generation of royalty and the wealthier families.

Very few of the original books can be found today which prompted Zhang to look into the process and attempt to recreate it. Zhang found himself taking a more scientific approach to his artwork in an effort to recreate an exquisite piece just like the original artists did.




Zhang Xiaodong is the first artist to attempt this lost art for a long while according to the Art Central exhibition’s curator, Ying Kwok:

“When there is a slight movement in the air, (the pages) flow, giving life to the book itself,” Kwok told CNN in a phone interview. “This makes the whole experience of reading a book three-dimensional.”

Zhang’s recently recreated the classic Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. The book of 230 Qing Dynasty artist Sun Wen images was painstakingly reimagined as a dragon scale bookbinding by combining ancient folding and cutting techniques, as well as ingenious use of modern technology.

Zhang visited old Chinese towns to find materials traditionally used in bookbinding, such as rice paper, bamboo, silk and wood. The trickiest but most important part of the dragon scale binding process is the precise placement of each page. A complete picture is only achieved when each sheet is placed in exactly the right place- just one hundredth of a centimetre out of place and the whole book is ruined.

Both artist and curator hope that this recreation of an ancient art, along with using modern techniques, will help preserve the Chinese traditions and heritage.

There is nothing more heartwarming than knowing bookmaking and storytelling are still integral parts of culture and tradition in parts of the world.

Try your own hand at the ancient art of origami and paper folding




Wrong Hands: The Lazy Person’s Guide to Classic Novels

By | Arty, Inspired by Literature | No Comments
John Atkinson of Wrong Hands comic illustrations has come up with another funny look at classic novels. His ‘Classic Novel Spoilers’ was previously featured on For Reading Addicts, and proved so popular he has another hilarious collection of literary-inspired drawings.

From Lord of the Flies to Moby Dick, 1984 to Wuthering Heights, Wrong Hands explains each book in succinct and humorous fashion!

Read More

Bruce Worden Perfectly Illustrates English Homophones

By | Arty, Language | No Comments
Homophones are words that sound similar but spelled differently and with different meanings- like bear and bare, bored and board, sale and sail.

Bruce Worden’s Facebook page Homophones, Weakly  explores the wonder that is the English language in all its confusing glory. His clever illustrations show the difference between the words in a visual way- helping any of us still struggling with there/their/they’re, among others.

Read More

One graphic artist draws favourite emotional scenes from Harry Potter

By | Arty, Literature | No Comments
Graphic artist, Loquacious Literature (aka: Katie Knudson) noticed some of her favourite scenes were left out of the movie adaptations of the Harry Potter movies so she filled in the gaps with her own art. Her magical drawings bring the Potterverse to life once more, drawing upon some of the more emotional scenes neglected in the screenplay, but nevertheless very important to fans worldwide.

Check out some below, but also go give her a follow on Tumblr if you enjoyed this sample of what she has to offer.

Read More

Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell Collaborate on Art Book

By | Arty, New Releases | No Comments
Neil Gaiman is to publish a new art book in September with illustrations from Chris Riddell. The new book, Art Matters will inspire readers to seize the day and fill the world with creativity and it’s likely to be a bestseller this autumn.

The ‘Creative call to arms’ will combine Neil Gaiman’s words with striking illustrations from Chris Riddell, drawn from speeches, poems and creative manifestos Art Matters will explore how reading, imagining and creating can change the world.
Read More

Love on the Rocks Story Rocks are Super Cute

By | Arty, Children's Literature, Inspired by Literature | No Comments
Love on the Rocks is a recent craze to hit the UK (and the world) where people paint rocks in patterns or art, and hide them around the place for others to find and rehide. There are Facebook groups dedicated to the practice and while it was popular in the US, and Australia last year it’s only just hit the UK. This week we found a picture of a ‘Room on the Broom’ story rock and upon sharing it on our Facebook page the artist came forward.  Read More

Neil Gaiman to become a King Neptune in 2018

By | Arty, Culture | No Comments
Award-winning fantasy and sci-fi author Neil Gaiman has announced that he will be becoming King Neptune this Summer.

At his side will be his queen- the wonderfully talented musician and artist, Amanda Palmer, and they will be jointly be ruling their watery subjects from the Coney Island Mermaid Parade float.

Coney Island prides itself on honouring American pop-culture through fresh and original shows and acts. Drawing from circus and theatrical traditions of P.T. Barnum, the people of Coney Island present uniquely American visual arts. This year the mermaid float will carry Queen Mermaid Amanda Palmer and King Neptune Neil Gaiman along the Coney Island Boardwalk before arriving at the beach for the official Beach Ceremony: the ‘opening’ of the ocean for the summer swimming season.

Read More

Leave a Reply