Models of three of the oldest Chinese bindings, the xian zhuang (thread-bound), baobei zhuang (wrapped-back), and jingzhe zhuang (accordion- or sutra-style), come packaged the traditional way, in a wraparound case fastened with bone clasps.

For more about these bindings and other Chinese traditions, read the report in the Press section written by Ma Nao Books founder Margaret Davis and summarizing six months of study in China, including an apprenticeship at Beijing’s National Library of China.

6 1/4 x 4 1/4 x 1 1/8 inches

Miniature versions of the xian zhuang (thread-bound), baobei zhuang (wrapped-back), and jingzhe zhuang (accordion- or sutra-style) books are available, housed in the traditional shutao case with bone clasps.

3 3/8 x 2 3/4 x 1 inches

$85, plus $5 for shipping

A wraparound case does its job only if it’s a perfect fit.

Measurements are taken at thirty-seconds of an inch for the case, which — being open on two sides — works by friction.

It must hold its contents tight enough to keep them from sliding through, and it must be loose enough to lie flat and cause no warping.

8 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 1 1/4 inches

What do you do when someone gives you a crumbling Dictionary of American Slang aimed at Chinese readers and dated 1934? You immediately build a traditional wraparound case for it.

The simple but precise case should offer protection for the next 75 years; it’s another example of how art can be put to work.

Bone clasps, bought on Beijing’s artisans’ street, Liulichang, complete the package.

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