Monday, March 9, 2009

Chinese block printing for book making

Here is a clip on Chinese block printing for making book pages. After a bit of a history lesson we see what it takes to carve and print very fine Chinese characters and the special tools and printing setup involved.

Bareners Ray Hudson and Bea Gold are influenced by and practice the Chinese printing technique which differs quite a bit from the Japanese process. Here are a couple of references courtesy Dave Bull.
Chinese printing technique description at
DaZhao Village artists at work - video

Block Printing: Woodblock printing on paper, whereby individual sheets were pressed against wooden blocks with......
the text and illustrations carved into them, was first recorded in China in the Tang Dynasty, although as a method for printing patterns on cloth the earliest surviving examples from China date to before 220, and from Egypt to the 6th or 7th centuries. In the Tang Dynasty, a Chinese writer named Fenzhi first mentioned in his book "Yuan Xian San Ji" that the woodblock was used to print Buddhist scripture during the Zhenguan years (627~649 A.D.). The oldest known surviving printed work is a woodblock-printed Buddhist scripture in Chinese of Wu Zetian period (684~705 A.D.); discovered in Tubofan, Xinjiang province, China in 1906, it is now stored in a calligraphy museum in Tokyo, Japan. The oldest surviving documented printed book, a copy of the Buddhist Diamond Sutra, is dated 848 AD, and a recent excavation at a Korean pagoda may have unearthed an even earlier Buddhist text dating to AD 750-751.In the modern Chinese historiography, printing is considered one of the Four Great Inventions of ancient China.

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