Entering the fascinating world of Asian book binding!


It is said that this form of binding was initially designed for “the people on the back of horse” once roamed in Central Asia who were Buddhists and wanted to read Buddhist scriptures conveniently on the back of horse (or cart) — imagine you’re reading while riding a horse. You certainly don’t wanna the pages of the text all fly away! So comes this bind style that holds all pages together and is easy to flip open and fold close! This style is called Jing zhe zhuan (經折裝), literally scripture-folding style. It is also simply called Zhe zi ben (折子本) or folded book, once no longer used for Buddhist texts.

To catalog a book in Jing zhe zhuan 經折裝, give a 500 note:

  • 300 _ _ xxx pages ; 24 cm
  • 500 _ _ In accordion style.

When encased (in a box or case):

  • In accordion style, in case.

Other Asian book binding styles


This is probably the oldest binding of a “book” — in fact it is NOT called a book, yet. Long narrow bamboo chips, called Jian 簡, with words written on them were stringed together to make one article. The whole article (the book) is called Ce 策. They can be rolled neatly for storage. To read it, just roll it open!

Before paper was invented, Chinese books were print on silk or cloth。 Each book is a roll of silk, called Juan 卷. Thus a man of learning is said to wear-off ten thousand Juans (of book) 讀書破萬卷!


Paper was then invented in China, and book with pages was born. The word for pages in Chinese is Ye 頁 or 葉 which means leaf.


This crazy looking “book” is in the style called Xuan feng 旋風 or whirl-binding! The book in the picture is a Buddhist text with color illustrations.


Examples of Asian binding books in our library!

  • 儒家名言OSCAR B62097775; OCLC: 230809369
  • 古琴艺术 OSCAR B71314131; OCLC: 822967656

For traditional Asian (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) binding with each “page” being a folded sheet:

300 _ _ 35 leaves ; ǂc 20 cm.
500 _ _ On double leaves, oriental style.

For other traditional Asian binding method (forthcoming)