In the year 2000 the National Museums of Scotland mounted an exhibition entitled ‘Source’. Craftworkers all over Scotland were invited to create a piece of work influenced by any object in any Scottish museum. The pages [accompanying this article] are from a ‘concertina’ book made by the calligrapher Susan Leiper, which she based on a traditional Chinese woodblock-printed almanac in the Royal Museum’s Ivy Wu Gallery.
Following the dictum of the famous German calligrapher Friedrich Neugebauer, that ‘the ideal manuscript book would be made by one person, acting as author, scribe, illuminator and binder’, Susan set out to compose, write, illustrate and bind a Chinese cookery manual, covering the principal ingredients of fish and seafood, meat and poultry, vegetables, carbohydrates and desserts. Each ingredient is illustrated [in] a solid block of text.
In China the concertina format was a development from the long horizontal scroll printed with religious texts.
The full version of this article is only available to subscribers to Slightly Foxed: The Real Reader’s Quarterly. To continue reading, please sign in or take out a subscription to the quarterly magazine for yourself or as a gift for a fellow booklover. Both gift givers and gift recipients receive access to the full online archive of articles along with many other benefits, such as preferential prices for all books and goods in our online shop and offers from a number of like-minded organizations. Find out more on our subscriptions page.Subscribe now or Sign in