Misunderstandings in the trade fair of Chinese and

2022-07-25
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Su Jing: Misunderstandings in the trade fair of Chinese and Western printing

release date: Source: Wenhui scholar editor in charge: Yu Jia number of Views: 1525 copyright and disclaimer

core tips: after the 10th century, the mainstream of Chinese printing was woodcut printing, which was still the case in the 19th century; In the west, movable type printing was the mainstream from the 15th century to the 19th century. The three elements of Western movable type printing are: cast metal movable type, vertical press and oily ink; In contrast, the elements of Chinese woodcut printing are hand carved boards, horizontal brush and water-based ink

[China Packaging News] after the 10th century, the mainstream of Chinese printing was woodcut printing, which was still the case in the 19th century; In the west, movable type printing was the mainstream from the 15th century to the 19th century. The three elements of Western movable type printing are: cast metal movable type, vertical press and oily ink; In contrast, the elements of Chinese woodcut printing are hand carved boards, horizontal brush and water-based ink. These differences lead to the complexity of Western movable type printing technology and high cost, but the printed words are neat and uniform, the ink is uniform, and the layout effect is good; Woodcut printing is characterized by its simplicity and low cost. However, there are always differences in the handwriting and strokes printed by hand, and it is not easy to master the effect of water-based ink. When the Western movable type came eastward with the Western forces in the middle of the 19th century, after the woodcut printing trade fair in China, someone thought of an interesting question: is it possible to combine the benefits of the two technologies into one

Robert Morrison, the first Christian missionary to come to China, was the first person who tried to integrate Chinese and Western printing. The Catholic missionaries who came to China before him knew the difference between Chinese and Western printing very well. Matteo Ricci and others had talked about it in their books. Compared with Western Pinyin characters, it was impossible to cast tens of thousands of metal movable type of Chinese words. Therefore, Western movable type printing could not be used in China. When Morrison was preparing to come to China, he read many works of Catholic missionaries. He should have known these things. However, after he came to China in 1807, he was faced with a very different dilemma from Catholic missionaries. He could neither enter the mainland nor preach openly, so he came up with an alternative way to spread the printed materials he called "silent missionaries" everywhere to preach to the Chinese. Therefore, printing and publishing became the main tool of Christianity in China before the Opium War. Under the leadership of Morrison, the early Christian missionaries in China tried various Chinese and Western printing methods, such as wood carving, lithography, casting, Western and Chinese movable type, etc. He also ran a printing house in Macao (later moved to Guangzhou) at his own expense, using lithography and movable type printing, and further wanted to integrate Chinese and Western printing

on March 24, 1834, Morrison wrote a letter from Macao to his son John R. Morrison in Guangzhou, talking about his idea and experiment of combining Chinese and Western printing:

I hope you can make an experiment with Chinese metal movable type to confirm whether you can brush and ink manually in the same way as the Chinese I am anxious to know if I can print Chinese without using the European press

I have tried to print with a Chinese brush recently, and I believe it is quite feasible. A sample sheet is attached to you

I have ordered some boards for printing,... If you can prepare an iron plate frame, some wedges and a wooden mallet for me, it can form a part of my travel printing tools. I also need to bring some ink. Other things, such as paper and brushes, are available everywhere in China

I have tried several times to mix Chinese ink with oil instead of water. Their water-based ink is very poor

Morrison had a printing press in hand, but in order to facilitate the production of missionary printing materials, he tried to replace the Western printing press with a Chinese brush, replace the Chinese ink with a Western ink, and bring other necessary supplies to form a group of printing tools to carry around, ready to print and spread everywhere at any time. Morrison thought this method was feasible and tried it. He also sent the sample sheet to maruhan for his son to further test

On April 1, 1834, maruhan replied to his father that he would try as instructed. However, at that time, maruhan was busy with other things. In the next communication between his father and son, neither of them mentioned this matter. Then, on August 1, 1834, four months later, Morrison died of illness. Maruhan also cleaned up his own printing house. Therefore, Morrison's integration of Chinese and Western printing failed

in 1851, 17 years after Morrison's death, James Legge, another Christian missionary, also came up with the idea of combining Chinese and Western printing by using a metal ruler to stand on the top of the test mold at an approximate angle. James Legge did not like printing. Before the Opium War, he presided over the Malacca preaching station on the Malay Peninsula. He complained that the printing house attached to the preaching station would only waste his time. He even sent all the Western printing machines to the Singapore preaching station. After the Opium War, he transferred to Yinghua academy, a local preaching station in Hong Kong where he presided over the London Missionary church. Because he had a series of works to publish, he changed his attitude towards printing and took the initiative to manage the printing house attached to the preaching station

the printing office of Yinghua academy operates Western printing and produces western Chinese movable type by itself. However, in his letter to the Secretary of the London Council on April 22nd, 1851, Legge talked about his new idea, saying that he had ordered a dozen brushes from suppliers in London to replace the printing press and use the brushes and Chinese ink to brush the metal movable type block. Legge believes that this will greatly reduce the printing cost. It is estimated that 5000 copies of a 170 page book will cost about 275 yuan for Western printing. After using brush and Chinese ink, he will charge only 200 yuan but still make a profit

Jacob's aims and methods are different from those of his predecessor Morrison. Morrison tried to print and spread missionary books and periodicals to escape the pursuit of the Chinese government, while James Legge only considered the profit and loss of operating costs. In terms of methods, both wanted to replace the heavy printing press with a light brush, but Morrison preferred to use western ink, while James Legge wanted to use Chinese ink

James Legge did not report the results of his own blending of Chinese and Western printing, but another missionary, Benjamin Hobson, who was also a missionary of the London church, said it for him. On February 23, 1852, He Xin wrote a letter to the Secretary of the London society to discuss printing, in which he mentioned Legge's experiment, saying that a few months ago, Legge carried out the experiment of printing metal movable type with a brush and Chinese ink. A Chinese printer tried for twoorthree days, but the effect was very poor and failed. There were three reasons: first, the water-based ink that was easy to flow filled the surface of movable type; Second, the left and right back brushes shake the neatly arranged movable type; Third, the thick and short bristles damage the fine strokes on movable type. According to Hexin, the printing press is still an indispensable tool

James Legge learned the lesson that it is difficult to combine Chinese and Western printing. Unexpectedly, 13 years later, he had the opportunity to take the first: what needs to be done day by day; My own experience points out the Chinese people who have the same imagination. On February 24, 1864, he wrote a letter to the Secretary of the London Council about the affairs of the printing house. He mentioned that a son of the governor of Guangdong visited the printing house attached to Yinghua Academy in Hong Kong, and purchased a batch of movable type after a detailed investigation for threeorfour days, indicating that it would be used to print the notice of the governor's Yamen, etc. Legge reminded the other party that a printing press must be equipped at the same time. The governor's son thought that movable type could be printed with Chinese brush and ink. James Legge told the Secretary of the London Council that the other party would be disappointed, and hoped that this expected setback would not make the other party cancel the plan to replace woodcut with Western movable type

Legge did not mention the name of the governor of Guangdong, but guosongtao was the governor of Guangdong from 1863 to 1866. Legge should be talking about him. As early as 1856, guosongtao first visited the "ink sea library" of the brother printing office of Yinghua Academy in Shanghai. He also described in detail the structure and operation of the ink sea printing press in his diary. Therefore, he had some knowledge of Western printing, and one of his three sons was probably ordered to visit Hong Kong. However, it remains to be seen why guosongtao's son only bought movable type and ignored the printing press, whether these movable types were really used to print yamen announcements, and whether the results disappointed guosongtao's son as expected by James Legge. Later, when guosongtao was an envoy to Britain, he visited the printing house of the times and the printing house of Oxford University Press, and wrote down the work details of the two places. I wonder if he still remembers that he or his son wanted to integrate Chinese and Western printing twelve or three years ago

Chinese and Western printing are not only different in technology, but also in business form. The cost of woodcut printing in China is low, and the blocks can be collected after printing, and can be taken out and brushed when necessary. Therefore, there is no need to print more, so as to avoid overstocking costs and occupying more storage space. In the west, the printing cost of movable type was already high. After a book is printed, it is usually disassembled to put the movable type back in place, so as to save costs for reuse. If a book needs to be reprinted, it needs to do the process of checking, typesetting, proofreading, printing and binding again. Therefore, the printing volume is usually large, so as to reduce the average unit cost and selling price, and reduce the trouble of reprinting. Only classics and best sellers will retain the movable type edition, because the contents of such books are difficult to change, and they will be reprinted again and again to meet the needs of the market. These differences caused misunderstandings among some unknown Chinese people at the early stage of the trade fair between the two printing techniques in China

after the Opium War, the Presbyterian Missionary Society of the United States established a printing office in Macao in 1844, and moved to Ningbo in 1845, renamed the "Huahua Bible study", and printed missionary publications in Chinese movable type made in western France. Due to the uniform size and font, and the use of ink, the printed layout is neat and clean. The missionary said that the products of the study are often praised by local officials and scholars

In April of 1846, a special business came to our door. A local official surnamed Zhang, who loved Chinese movable type in the Huahua Bible Study (the missionary did not specify the official's name and position), brought a copy of Chinese history books and hoped that the missionary would print 50 copies for him with movable type. The Huahua Bible study often printed books or documents for foreigners. This was the first time that Chinese people asked for the printing, so the missionaries discussed the case at the preaching station meeting on April 25, 1846

the opinion in favor of printing on behalf of others thinks that this move can enhance the popularity of Huahua Bible study and its movable type among Chinese people. At the same time, the study has only printed missionary books. Printing this Chinese history book on behalf of others will help to test the completeness of movable type in the study, and this move will not hinder the printing of missionary books, because there are still many books in the study, and there are no important books to be printed for the time

those who oppose the seal believe that this seal is not within the scope of missionary work at all. Moreover, this book contains many Chinese legends and fables, and the seal may be regarded as a missionary who agrees with these legends and fables. Moreover, this book is not small in length. The printing period will take about 8 months. If there are important missionary books during this period

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