Books On Books Collection – Zhang Xiaodong

Diamond Sutra, Dragon scale binding (2017)
Zhang Xiaodong
In 32 zhuan (seal) fonts, 152 x 382×160mm
Edition: 197/300
Acquired from Sin Sin Fine Arts (Hong Kong), 31 October 2019

Ranged horizontally, these are the characters in the column carved into the wooden box holding the scroll and its silk encasing.

金剛般若波羅蜜經

Jin gang bo re bo luo mi jing = Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, or “The Perfection of Wisdom Text that Cuts Like a Thunderbolt” or “The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra”, often shortened to “Diamond Sutra”.

The silk encasing

Views of the scroll, rolled and bound

Unrolling the scroll

Views of scroll standing

Views of scroll standing

The paper used for the book is Shengxuan, a kind of raw rice paper from An Hui province. The inks used to print the Diamond Sutra are Japanese mineral inks; the printing technique, Ultra Giclee on a Japanese printing machine. The page turning wand is made of camphorwood . 

Further Reading and Viewing

Brokaw, Cynthia and Kornicki, Peter. The History of the Book in East Asia (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013)

Burkus-Chasson, Anne. “Visual Hermeneutics and the Act of Turning the Leaf” in Printing and Book Culture in Late Imperial China, ed. Cynthia Brokaw (Berkeley: University of California, 2005).

Chinnery, Colin. “Whirlwind binding (xuanfeng zhuang)”, International Dunhuang Project, British Library. Posted 07 February 2007. Accessed 12 December 2019.

Chung Tai Translation Committee. The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra (January 2009). Accessed 28 November 2019. The full text in English alongside the Chinese characters.

Ko, Stella. “Resurrecting the art of China’s dragon scale bookbinding”, CNN Definitive Design, 3 April 2018. Accessed 15 November 2019.

Song, Minah. “The history and characteristics of traditional Korean books and bookbinding”, Journal of the Institute of Conservation, 32(1), March 2009, pp. 53-78. . Accessed 12 December 2019. DOI: 10.1080/19455220802630743

Tsui, Enid. “Art Basel in Hong Kong: city’s small galleries shine through with memorable displays“, South China Morning Post, 2 April 2018. Accessed 15 November 2019.

Witthus, Rutherford. Skip for Joy (2005). A single-sided version of the binding.

Xing Wen. “Bringing the past into the future“, China Daily, 10 January 2019. Accessed 15 November 2019.

Xing Wen. “Craft binds past and present”, China Daily, 21 February 2019. Accessed via Culture/China Watch/The Telegraph, 15 November 2019.

Yang, Hu ( 肖阳) and Xiao, Yang. Chinese publishing : homeland of printing (Beijing : China Intercontinental Press, 2010).