Yantai, China: Self-Help Department, Women's Bible School, Presbyterian Mission, circa 1930. Oblong folio, measuring 14 x 10.5 inches. Contemporary flexible boards covered in gold silk brocade with red stitching. Letterpress description of “the cut-outs of Temple Hill” mounted to front pastedown. 42 pages, 24 of which are decorated with tissue-guarded hand-cut black and red paper designs (many inlaid with colored silk), and one letterpress page of traditional Chinese recipes, interleaved with blanks. Pastedown endpapers cracked, occasional light offsetting from cut paper designs.
Handmade scrapbook created by Chinese students at the Ai Dao Bible School, a Presbyterian mission affiliated with the Chefoo School at Temple Hill in Shandong Province, China. Students produced the distinctive “cut-outs of Temple Hill,” based on “figures of animals, plants, insects, dragons, etc., cut by the women of Shantung for unknown generations,” creating souvenir paper goods to benefit the mission. Most of the surviving Temple Hill books are short collections of Chinese myths and folklore; this volume, entitled China Days, is one of the much scarcer Temple Hill folios, with a broader focus. The volume features cut-paper vignettes to first and last pages, and ten chapters illustrated with dozens of individual hand-cut designs: Landscapes, Travel and Transportation, Customs and Habits (including a printed chart and letterpress description of the Chinese Birth-Year Cycle), Occupations, Curios and Curiosities, Chow and How! (including printed recipes), Chinese Expressions, Chinese Children, Myths and Legends (including many of the tales included in the smaller myths and folklore collections), and My Chinese Friends. Especially striking are the colorful designs created with silk inlays. A stunning near-fine example of traditional Chinese paper arts.