Saturday, July 28, 2012

Printing Then and Now: Part III (Printing in Asia)

The Chinese first used ink in 250 BC and the brush and paper in the 3rd Century BC. Inks then were made from soot and animal glue, but the chief ingredient of high quality ink was lampblack and glue.

Printing in Ancient China was believed to be one of their greatest inventions which consequently resulted in the development of ink and paper. The earliest prints found in China dates back to 220 BC which used block printing (a printing process where a thin piece of paper is glued to wood and then carved with the characters creating a text or image impression. The earliest woodblock prints collected had printed flowers on various colored silk. The first book published in 868 called Diamond Sutra was printed through this method. 

As printing developed in China, it spread to neighboring countries such as Japan and Korea. There was evidence of woodblock printing in Japan which dates back to the 8th century. But because the process was expensive and time-consuming, it was only in 1650 when the first illustrated book was created in Japan.

Unlike Japan, Koreans had higher demand for religious books. This is evidenced by the existence of books as far back as the 13th century. Koreans first started using woodblock printing and then moved to the moveable type print. Later on bronze casting was adapted. But unlike in Europe, Korean books were only available to the noble sector of the society.         

1 comment:

  1. That's where we give China the credit. Thanks for sharing. It still astounds me how we moved from very tedious printing process to instant ones.