Thursday, April 23, 2020

Zhen Xian Bao on screen

I have written here previously about Chinese Thread Books, or Zhen Xian Bao. Of course, most of us learned about these wonderful folded books via Ruth Smith's research, which she published in A Little Known Chinese Folk Art: Zhen Xian Bao in 2012. It's an obscure Chinese folk art from a specific region of rural China, now popular with a niche group of folks who are interested in folded books.

Imagine my surprise, as my daughter and I were watching a movie at home this evening, and a Chinese Thread Book appeared on screen.

So, although Dolittle didn't quite become the smash hit they were likely hoping for, I am now a fan of this movie because they used a Chinese Thread Book as a prop! A nice little surprise in these quarantine times. Here are a couple of screen captures from the movie. These few glimpses occur between 1:10:50 and 1:11:00.

I have made a few of these over the past few years and you can see some pictures if you want to scroll through earlier blog posts. But more exciting, I acquired a real one a couple years ago. So, here are a couple photos of the real one that I have:

I mean, really it doesn't make much sense for Dr. Dolittle to have a Chinese Thread Book given where they originate and what they were typically used for. It does look nice on his desk, though.

If you're interested in learning more about these books and their Chinese origins, Ruth Smith has written a book of instructions as well as a book about the history. I believe you can purchase from her directly if you contact her through Instagram, username: foldedsecrets

Also, I hope you've had a great World Book Day!