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In Session: Artistic Interventions in Print: Twentieth-Century Chinese Art and the Book in a Transnational Context
4: The Evolution of Book Binding in 1920s China: Yu Pingbo’s 1925 Poetry Book Yi
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT
The New Culture Movement brought drastic changes to cultural productions in 1920s China, ranging from vernacular novels, modern poetry to new forms of book design. Published in this transitional period, the 1925 book Yi [Remembrance] features writer Yu Pingbo (1900-1990)'s poetry. Both its content and form integrate elements of the old and the new. Modern poems written in vernacular language are mixed with a smaller number of poems in traditional Chinese. The traditional thread binding and vertical textual arrangement coexist with a pictorial cover designed by the Western-trained artist Sun Fuxi (1898-1962) and Japanese-style illustrations in vivid colors created by artist Feng Zikai (1898-1975). Taking Yi as an example, this paper demonstrates the evolution of Chinese bookbinding in the 1920s. It discusses how substantial characteristics of books and illustrations impact on textual meanings and reading experience.