History of printing in East Asia

Printing in East Asia originated from the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 CE) in China, evolving from ink rubbings made on paper or cloth from texts on stone tables used during the Han. Printing is considered one of the Four Great Inventions of China that spread throughout the world. A specific type of printing called mechanical woodblock printing on paper started in China during the Tang dynasty before the 8th century CE. The use of woodblock printing spread throughout Asia, the idea of the printing press eventually reached Europe, which improved on the design with the introduction mechanical press. The Chinese used only clay and wood movable type at first. The use of metal movable type was known in Korea by the 13th century. From the 17th century to the 19th century in Japan, woodblock prints called ukiyo-e were mass-produced, which influenced European Japonisme and the Impressionists. The European-style printing press became known in East Asia by the 16th century but was not adopted. Centuries later, mechanical printing presses combining some European influences were adopted, but then replaced with newer laser printing systems designed in the 20th and 21st centuries.


Woodblock printing

Main article: Woodblock printing The intricate frontispiece of the Diamond Sutra from Tang-dynasty China, 868 AD (British Museum), which is widely seen as the earliest extant printed book

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