Everything about books began in China.

Paper, movable type, and bookbinding—all are Chinese innovations.

As a Durfee Foundation scholar, Margaret Davis pursued an independent study of bookbinding in China, arranging an apprenticeship in the conservation department at Beijing's National Library of China and visiting studios, publishing houses, and artisans throughout the country.

Here’s the report that summarizes the experience, which served as the starting point for a full-length story about her bookbinding adventure and lessons in China. Along with the work at the National Library of China and trips to individual artists' studios, the publications also cover visits to Dunhuang's Mogao Grottos, where the oldest, dated, printed book in the world was found; Nanjing's Jiangsu Ancient Book Publishing House and the Buddhist-text publisher Jinling Ke Jing Chu; Yangzhou's Guangling Publishing House; and, in Beijing, Rong Bao Zhai, Liulichang, and the preservation department at the Forbidden City.

For examples of Chinese bindings, click here.

For more articles on life in China, by and about Ma Nao Books founder Margaret Davis, visit Press.