Bibliography Publishing Portal

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Publications such as Essential Buddhist Texts for Laypeople were an important means of communicating religious teachings and new ideas to Buddhists throughout the Chinese-reading world.

Bibliography and Publishing are two important topics in the history of Modern Chinese Buddhism. New material and social technologies allowed Buddhists to produce texts in much greater numbers than before. The content of the texts was also geared to the modern age, with introductory textbooks, commentaries, and treaties on Buddhism produced on a massive scale.

Consult the Print bibliography for research resources on Modern Chinese Buddhism.


Scriptural Presses

Over a dozen presses were founded between the 1860s and the 1920s.

The Scriptural Press (kèjīng chù 刻經處) was a type of publishing institution dedicated to the production of Buddhist scriptures. Several were established during the late Qīng and Republican periods, many by lay people.[1]

  • Jīnlíng Scriptural Press 金陵刻經處; Yánlíng alley 延齡巷, Nánjīng 南京; 1871? - 1966; 1981 - present
  • Rúgāo Scriptural Press 如皋刻經處; fl. 1873
  • Jiāngběi Scriptural Press 江北刻經處; Zhuānqiáo town 磚橋鎮, Yángzhōu 揚州; 1874 - 1930s or 1940s
  • Gūsū Scriptural Press 姑蘇刻经處; Sūzhōu 蘇州; fl. 1877
  • Chángshā Scriptural Press 長沙刻經處; Chángshā 長沙; active as early as 1877, fl. 1908
  • Chángzhōu Scriptural Press 常州刻經處; also called Tiānníng Temple Scriptural Press 天寧寺刻經處; Tiānníng Temple 天寧寺, Chángzhōu 常州; fl. 1912[2]
  • Běijīng Scriptural Press 北京刻經處; Fǎyuán Temple 法源寺, Běijīng 北京; 1919 - 1937?
  • Cháo'ān Scriptural Press 潮安刻經處; Xiāntóu street 仙街頭, Cháo'ān 潮安; fl. 1919 - 1925
  • Tiānjīn Scriptural Press 天津刻經處; Tiānjīn 天津; 1919 - 1937?
  • Pílíng Scriptural Press 毗陵刻經處; fl. 1919
  • Chéngdū Scriptural Press 成都刻經處; Chéngdū 成都; fl. 1920
  • Chóngqìng Scriptural Press 重慶刻經處; Chóngqìng 重慶; fl. 1920
  • Tiānchuáng Temple Scriptural Press 天窗寺刻經處; Chángzhōu 常州; fl. 1921
  • Kōnglín Scriptural Press 空林刻經處; fl. 1938

Sūtra Distributors

These were institutions that distributed copies of Buddhist scriptures, and included temples and book publishers. Many of these either also printed scriptures themselves, or were closely affiliated with a publisher.[3] Note that this is a draft list, and some of these might be different names for the same institution.

  • Běijīng Jiùxíngbù Street Wòfó Temple Xiàngfāng Bridge Buddhist Library 北京舊刑部街臥佛寺象坊橋佛教圖書館
  • Běijīng Sūtra Distributor 北京佛經流通處
  • Chángshā Shànglín Temple 長沙上林寺
  • Chángzhōu Tiānníng Temple 常州天寧寺
  • (Chóngqìng) Luóhàn Temple Sūtra Distributor 羅漢寺佛經流通處
  • (Hángzhōu) Gōngdélín Sūtra Distributor 功德林佛經流通處
  • Hángzhōu Sūtra Distributor 杭州佛經流通處
  • Hángzhōu Zhāoqìng Huìkōng Scripture Hall 杭州昭慶慧空經房
  • [Hángzhōu?] Chéngnèi Agate Scripture Hall 城內瑪瑙經房
  • Harbin Sūtra Distributor 哈爾濱佛經流通處
  • Hong Kong Jùzhēn Library 香港聚珍書樓
  • Hong Kong Sūtra Distributor 香港佛經流通處
  • Jīnlíng Sūtra Distributor 金陵佛經流通處
  • Nánjīng Sūtra Distributor 南京佛經流通處
  • Níngbō Yòuxīn Street Sānbǎo Scripture Hall 寧波又新街三寶經房
  • Shànghǎi Gōngdélín Sūtra Distributor 佛教功德林佛經流通處; active April 1922 - 19??
  • Shànghǎi Medical Press 上海醫學書局
  • Shànghǎi Sūtra Distributor 上海佛經流通處
  • Shànghǎi Yǒuzhèng Press 上海有正書局
  • World Buddhist Lay Association Sūtra Distributor 世界佛教居士林佛經流通處
  • Yíchāng Zhōngyíng Street Hòushēng Tobacco Factory 宜昌中營街厚生煙廠
  • Zhījiāng Newspaper Office 之江報館

Publishers, Editors, and Authors

Includes major names only - virtually all prominent figures have at least some texts attributed to them, but these were especially influential or prolific.

  • Yáng Wénhuì 楊文會 (1837-1911); founder of the Jinling Scriptural Press 金陵刻經處
  • Jiǎng Wéiqiáo 蔣維喬 (1873-1958); worked as chief editor of the textbooks division of the Commercial Press 商務印書館; translated and edited A History of Chinese Buddhism 中國佛教史, 1929
  • Dí Chǔqīng 狄楚青 (c. 1873-1941); co-founder of the newspaper Shíbào 時報 and of Yǒuzhèng Press 有正書局; helped to publish the Qìshā Canon 磧砂藏
  • Dīng Fúbǎo 丁福保 (1874-1952); established the Medical Press 醫學書局 in Shànghǎi in 1908; published The Great Dictionary of Buddhism 佛學大辭典 in 1922
  • Xú Wèirú 徐蔚如 (1878-1937); co-founded the Bějīing Scriptural Press 北京刻經處 in 1918; founded Tiānjīn Scriptural Press 天津刻經處 the next year; ran them both for many years
  • Méi Guāngxī 梅光羲 (1880-1947); major supporter of the Jinling Scriptural Press 金陵刻經處
  • Fàn Gǔnóng 范古農 (1881-1951); general editor for Shànghǎi Buddhist Books 上海佛學書局 from 1929
  • Lǚ Bìchéng 呂碧城 (1883-1943); wrote several Chinese and bilingual Chinese-English works for Shànghǎi Buddhist Books

Publishing Houses

Includes publishers that did not specialize in Buddhist books but who published a large number of works related to Buddhism.[4] Note that English translations are descriptive only and are neither official nor standardized.

Publishing Technologies

Those used in printing Buddhist publications are included here

Xylography 調版印刷

Also known as woodblock 木板 or woodcut printing. Flat wooden blocks are carved with the text or images in reverse relief, the block is inked, paper pressed to its surface and the back of the page rubbed to make the imprint. About 15,000 copies could be printed from one set of blocks before it needed to be repaired, after which another 10,000 copies were possible. Up to 30,000 copies could be possible off of one block if the printing was a low quality.[5] Use of woodblock printing dates back to the 8th century, with the earliest dated printed book being the Diamond Sutra scroll from Dunhuang in the British Library, which dates to 868 CE.

Lithography 平版印刷

  • Stone-based 石印
  • Stone-based or zinc-plate 照相石印
  • Chromolithography 彩色石印
  • Offset lithography 橡皮版; 膠版

Uses a plate, ink and a hydrophobic (water-repelling) medium. Can reproduce calligraphy and painted images.

Letterpress 凸版印刷

  • Lead-type 鉛印
  • Movable type 字模; 活字
  • Typeset in lead type 鉛字排印

Individual characters are cast as pieces of type and arranged into a forme. The type is inked and paper is pressed against it to print. Produces a very even and standard layout, but there are restrictions regarding the variety of fonts, rare or alternate characters, and textual layout.

This section is incomplete and more content needs to be added. You can help by contributing text, images, or suggestions.

Important Publications

Several articles, series and monographs had a lasting impact on the state of Buddhism in modern China. Some of them are listed here:

Bibliographies and Guides for Modern Chinese Buddhist Studies

Lists of titles and guides to important sources for the study of Modern Chinese Buddhism.


  1. See Shì Dōngchū 釋東初. Zhōngguó Fójiào jìndài shǐ 中國佛教近代史 (A History of Early Contemporary Chinese Buddhism), in Dōngchū lǎorén quánjí 東初老人全集 (Complete Collection of Old Man Dongchu), vols. 1-2. Taipei: Dongchu, 1974 Pp. 1.249-251 for more information. Also MFQ 147:131 for a list of presses active in 1920.
  2. A catalogue for this press can be found in MFQ 3:145-148
  3. Several of these are based on the 1920 list in MFQ 147:131
  4. Some of this list is taken from 孟令兵, 老上海文化奇葩-上海佛學書局 (上海: 上海人民出版社, 2003).
  5. Christopher A. Reed, Gutenberg in Shanghai: Chinese Print Capitalism, 1876 - 1937 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2004), 110.
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