David Leffman
David Leffman
David Leffman was born and raised in Britain, has a degree in Photography at the London College of Printing, and spent twenty years in Australia before returning to Britain, in 2009. Since 1988, he has worked as a travel writer and editor, authoring and updating guidebooks to Australia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Iceland for Rough Guides and Dorling Kindersley. He has also helped compile a Chinese cookbook, and written articles on subjects ranging from true crime and horse racing to Chinese culture and history. In 2016, Blacksmith Books (Hong Kong) published “The Mercenary Mandarin”, his biography of the nineteenth-century British adventurer William Mesny.

For nearly 125 years, the family run workshop has been hand-carving statues, but competition from mass-produced products means the craft could very well die out.

Driven off Queensland’s goldfields, arrivals from China pioneered trade and agriculture in the north of the country, until discriminatory legislation and changing times forced them out.

Once ubiquitous across China, woodblock printing was nearly lost amid its 20th century tumult. Today, a handful of artists scattered across the country have become unwitting guardians of a fragile tradition.

One of China’s great beauties, Chen Yuanyuan was born to a peasant family, orphaned and sold as a prostitute, later becoming the consort of general and despised traitor, Wu Sangui. What eventually became of her was never known, until now.