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Document Details :

Title: Les aventures de la typographie et les missionnaires protestants en Chine au XIXe siècle
Author(s): DRÈGE, Jean-Pierre
Journal: Journal Asiatique
Volume: 280    Issue: 3-4   Date: 1992   
Pages: 279-305
DOI: 10.2143/JA.280.3.2006138

Abstract :
Although typography was invented in China as early as the eleventh century, it never met a great success as traditional xylography before the end of the nineteenth century. The great number of Chinese characters or types to use is the main reason for this failure. With the arrival of protestant missionaries in the nineteenth century and the opening of China to western technology, typography took the advantage. Owing to diverse technical improvements, made by English or American missionaries, as well as engravers from Paris or Berlin, difficulties have been cleared up. The archives of the London Missionary Society, of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the papers of William Gamble, and the archives of the Cabinet des Poinçons at the Imprimerie nationale, are teeming with informations about the fight between xylography and typography. The present article, which is based upon these archives, describes the slow conquest of the latter process.

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