Chinese artist saves lost art of dragon scale bookbinding

By April 3, 2018Arty, Culture
book of the month

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




5 Ways to Upcycle Old Books

By | Arty, Inspired by Literature | No Comments
book of the month
Old and forgotten books are being reincarnated as pretty trinkets thanks to some clever folk all over the internet. Butterflies, flowers, and even lampshades are being sculpted from the pages of dusty old books left to rot in attics all over the world.

DIY Everywhere collated some of the best ways to recycle old tomes, using the pages to bring us novel ideas…

Check out the images below and see if anything grabs your fancy! If you find one you like then head over to the website to watch their videos, and to cut, fold, and stick along with them. If book folding and origami are your thing just follow the links below and find your perfect book match.

Happy paper folding!

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Stunning Literary Art Installations with James Trevino

By | Arty, Inspired by Literature | No Comments
book of the month
Literary art on Instagram is becoming such a popular form of creative expression and we are absolutely in love! After discovering Elizabeth Sagan’s bookish blog on Instagram, we have now discovered her masculine literary art twin: James Trevino, ‘bookstagrammer’, cat dad, and self-professed Potterhead.

James’s art is just as inspiring and creative as Elizabeth’s, and full of literary references for the keenest readers. Check him out on Instagram if you like what you see below!

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Literary art ‘Books’ by Elizabeth Sagan are angelic and inspiring!

By | Arty, Inspired by Literature | No Comments
book of the month
‘Books’ by Elizabeth Sagan is a series of literary photography art run by the founder of My Book Features’ on Instagram.

Surrounded by books carefully positioned to create magical, inspiring, and beautiful scenes, Elizabeth’s ‘Books’ is a wonderful Insta feed to scroll through. Check out some of our favourites below- and find more at her main Instagram page- Elizabeth Sagan.

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Banksy to Save Bristol Libraries!

By | Arty, Libraries | No Comments
book of the month
British artist Banksy is best known for his graffiti art in and around Bristol, and all over the world. His art is a social commentary, blurring the lines between art and vandalism by spraying his stencil-art on the sides of public, and occasionally private, buildings.

After huge success and recognition Banksy wants to help his home city and community in Bristol. The historical city is facing major cuts to some areas that could see 17 of its 27 libraries close as Bristol struggles to fix a £1.4m shortfall. Mayor Marvin Rees confirmed with local press that the street artist-come-philanthropist had “come forward and talked about supporting us”.

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Illustrator Chris Riddell Has Been Drawing in His Copy of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Norse Mythology,’ and It Looks Great!

By | Arty, News | No Comments
book of the month
Last year, Neil Gaiman published Norse Mythology, which took readers through the world of Norse legends and brought to life Gods such as Odin, Thor, and Loki for a modern day audience. The book was been very well received since its publication and is a great way for newcomers to the old Gods to learn about the religion and culture of the Vikings, whose influence can still be felt to this day. Read More

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

By | Arty, Inspired by Literature | No Comments
book of the month
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!

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