Jiangsu Old Trades and Crafts in Portrait


award of  “Most Beautiful Book” 2018
award of  “World’s Most Beautiful Book” 2019
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  • Jiangsu Old Trades and Crafts in Portrait
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🟠 This is a book filled with nostalgic , and its pages are treated with a special tool to create an effect resembling the rough edges of ancient texts, earning the playful title “the world’s most beautifully rustic book!”
📖 “Jiangsu Old Trades and Crafts in Portrait” captures the essence of folk life, paying tribute to craftsmanship. “Old trades” is a collective term for various disappearing professions in society. Though they are gradually fading away, they carry the unique wisdom of the people and the collective memories of a generation. The designer is also the conceptualizer of this book, and the manuscript is a collaboration between photographers and writers who have long been devoted to documenting old trades.
📜 The content of the book gathers a wealth of first-hand information related to handicrafts and artisans, featuring up to 96 entries of old crafts and trades categorized into eight chapters, including clothing, food and drink, living spaces, and services. Therefore, the overall layout and design of the book vividly reflect the charm of craftsmanship, being both simple and lively.
💗 The book’s pages are made from rough paper reminiscent of the type used in old shops for packaging snacks and are intentionally roughened to portray the fading trades and crafts of the common people, creating a hazy beauty. In terms of spine design, the book completely abandons modern machine binding techniques and instead opts for a method involving twisted paper cords, perforations, and hammering in paper fasteners. The book also ingeniously employs the ancient “The Suzhou numerals” numerical system for page numbers.
❣ The entire book is bound in a traditional and folk manner, with a unique page numbering system. The text in the body of the book uses different materials from the large images, enriching the visual language. Black and white images are printed on rough paper, evoking the image of ancient, weathered artifacts, as if to demonstrate that new trades and crafts have their roots in the old ones.
💨 It can be said that this book preserves not only old crafts but also the warmth of human connections and a profound sense of nostalgia.
📚 “Jiangsu Old Trades and Crafts in Portrait”
Book Design: Zhou Chen
Authors: Gong Wei (Photography), Pan Wenlong (Writing)
Published by: Jiangsu Phoenix Education Press
Printed by: Artron Art Printing