|Bi Sheng manufacturing|
During the Northern Song dynasty the commoner Bi Sheng cut characters into porcelain clay and fired them. He arranged these in an iron frame and pressed them into a thick paste of pine resin, wax, and paper ashes, creating the first movable-type printing method.
1313, Nong Shu, or “Book of Agriculture” printed with wooden movable type, by Wang Zhen. 1377, Jikji, an anthology of zen teachings printed with metal movable type, in Korea. 1455, Biblia Sacra, the Gutenberg Bible printed with metal movable type by Johannes Gutenberg. 1574, Taiping Yulan, an encyclopedia of a thousand volumes, reprinted with bronze movable type. 1598, Confucian Analects printed in Japan using metal moveable type by order of Emperor Go-Yōzei.
I have in my possession certain first editions neither too old nor too rare. Of these there are few that I value more than I could sell them for. I know whose love once held them dear and why they are mine. What remains of a life as memories fade and loved ones die? Something about them— a familiarity, a smell, a reassurance.