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Combing for Ice and Jade.
Photographs by Kurt Tong.
Jiazazhi, Ningbo, China, 2019. 278 pp., 6¾x9¾".

Publisher's Description

First edition of 700, including 37 special edition. Section sewn perfect binding.

Combing for Ice and Jade is a love note from Kurt Tong to his nanny, who was one of the last remaining ‘self combed’ women left in China. An early form of feminism, the comb-up ceremony granted women great autonomy at a great cost.

Kurt Tong has worked closely with his nanny over a period of nearly 7 years. Having only 8 photographs of herself, the book is an exploration of her extraordinary life. Her story is slowly revealed through the book, combined with Kurt’s family archive, found photographs from her extended families, new photographs, Chinese ink works and women’s magazines from China that spanned 6 decades.

Born in Hong Kong in 1977, Kurt Tong left to UK when he was 13 years old. Currently he bases in Hong Kong. In his early career as a photographer, he was good at taking documentary and photojournalism. Gradually, he turns attention to his own family history. His work concentrates on individuals, like his grandfather, his parents and his nanny. Combing for Ice and Jade won Punctum Award in Lianzhou Foto in 2017 and Photo Folio Award in Les Rencontres d’Arles in 2018.


Special Edition of 37: includes one original rice print handmade with Chinese ink on traditional Xuan paper.

Special Edition

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