Imre Galambos, Dunhuang Manuscript Culture: End of the First Millennium. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2020. ISBN 978-3-11-072349-6. Hardcover, $ 114.99.
Imre Galambos is one of the most prolific scholars in the global community of Dunhuang Studies. Dunhuang Manuscript Culture: End of the First Millennium is his third book on Dunhuang manuscripts in the Studies in Manuscript Culture series published by de Gruyter in less than a decade. As in his previous two books, Galambos again emphasizes the multilingual and multicultural features of manuscripts uncovered in northwestern China. His 2012 book Manuscripts and Travellers:
Until now most studies on commercial publishing in pre-modern China have focused on two areas in the south, Jiangnan and Fujian, where publishing centers had been clustered since the Song dynasty. Before the Qing dynasty, commercial publications for the whole country had been provided by the publishing centers located in those two areas. However, the landscape changed significantly in the Qing dynasty, as commercial publishing extended to places where there had existed no printing shops before, especially the northern provinces of China. Dongchang prefecture along the Great Canal in Shandong province rose to become an important regional publishing center during the Qing. The publications produced in Dongchang not only satisfied the needs of local readers but were sold throughout Shandong and in other provinces in the north. As an outstanding publishing center in the north, Dongchang prefecture is a useful window from which to observe the development of commercial publishing and the book market in northern China in the Qing dynasty. This article investigates the origin, publications, readership, and distribution networks of printing shops in Dongchang prefecture. The author argues that rather than completely replacing the southern publishers in supplying books for readers in the north, the newly risen northern commercial publishers captured only a part of the market share. Some categories of books, such as new titles and high-end publications, still heavily relied on the southern publishers. In the Qing dynasty there was a notable trend towards stronger relationships between publishing centers and regional book markets. Hopefully this study will provide a more comprehensive landscape of commercial publishing in pre-modern China, and enhance our understanding of the development of book markets in the north.
The photographic print reproduced here (Fig. 1) shows a Tokyo bookshop in 1891. The notation in English at the bottom right, ‘C.36 Picture Shop’, indicates that this was one of many photographs taken by unidentified photographers with foreign visitors in mind: globetrotters and resident foreigners could select from a ready-made range of photographs to create their own souvenir albums, and many such albums survive, each with a personal selection of these photographs. Sometimes the prints were coloured by hand, and that is the case with the prints of this photograph preserved in the British Museum and Nagasaki University.1
Ka-chai Tam, Justice in Print: Discovering Prefectural Judges and Their Judicial Consistency in Late-Ming Casebooks. Leiden: Brill, 2020. ISBN 9789004442764. $140.
In Justice in Print, Professor Ka-chai Tam explores the history of prefectural judges (tuiguan推官) in the late Ming period. As the lowest-level full-time judicial officials, prefectural judges played an essential role in the functioning of the sub-provincial judicial system. Their main responsibility was to supervise the courts of county magistrates. Their routine job included reviewing judicial documents submitted by magistrates and other subordinate officials, composing case reports, drafting critical responses
The East Asian Library and Gest Collection at Princeton University is well-known for its substantial collection of Chinese rare books. As Japanese Studies Librarian, I have been endeavoring to further enhance the collection by acquiring materials that represent the relationships between Chinese and Japanese books, ranging from rare books published in the medieval period to manga and films. Recently, I have been making efforts to acquire antiquarian books in the areas of Gozan bungaku 五山文学, and shōmono抄物 together with Brian Steininger, Associate Professor of East Asian Studies, some of whose work lies in this area.
Emily Mokros, The Peking Gazette in Late Imperial China: State News and Political Authority. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2021. ISBN 9780295748788. $99.
In late October 1907, the New York Times published an obituary for the Peking Gazette, but it was no eulogy. The author lambasted histories of journalism for describing the gazette as “the oldest of newspapers” for it was “a cruel straining of the word” to call it one. The writer was correct, the gazette was not a newspaper, it was a court circular, a regular publication that carried information
With this issue we are inaugurating a new section of the journal devoted to resources and collections related to East Asian book history. This section will carry articles of up to 5000 words. We look forward to contributions from librarians and scholars which introduce important new acquisitions, newly-acquired collections and neglected sources. To be more precise, the new acquisitions should have some bearing on book history in East Asia because of their rarity, their provenance or other factors such as marginalia and they should be accessible in a university library or similar institution. Newly-acquired collections may consist of antiquarian books
Richard Rubinger, ed. A Social History of Literacy in Japan. London: Anthem Press, 2021. xxiii + 220 pp. ISBN 9781785277030. $125.00.
While everyone knows the warning against judging a book by its cover, in this case performing such a judgment is instructive. Let us consider the evidence provided by the image adorning the cover of A Social History of Literacy in Japan, which is taken from the right-hand half of Issunshi Hanasato’s Bungaku bandai no takara (Timeless treasures of literature), a nishiki-e diptych dated to the Kōka period (1844–1848
This article focuses on the historical use and meanings of early modern oaths (Jp. kishōmon起請文). These materially hybrid texts were initially stamped (on one side) and then inscribed by hand in ink (on the other side), often even in blood. Since they are an inextricable combination of print and handwriting, they complicate such dichotomies and open up a series of issues central to the understanding of scribal practices in early modern Japan. This article moves beyond their content analysis to address issues of materiality and agency along with the relationship between orality, writing and bodily practices.