With the inventions of paper and ink,
stamper gradually became popular during the Jin Dynasty (265-420), which was the
early form of Carved Type Printing. Block Printing first appeared in the Tang
Dynasty (618-907). The text was first written on a piece of thin paper, then
glued face down onto a wooden plate. The characters were carved out to make a
wood-block printing plate, which was used to print the text. Wood-block printing
took a long time as a new block had to be carved for every page in a book.
It took a lot of
time and energy as well as materials to prepare for printing a book, but it
worked more effectively afterwards. This technology was gradually introduced to
Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Printing had its drawbacks -- all the boards became useless after the printing
was done and a single mistake in carving could ruin the whole block. The
frontispiece of the world's oldest surviving book, the Diamond Sutra printed in
the year 868, was discovered at Dunhuang Cave, along the Silk Road. The book, in
the form of a roll, is the earliest woodcut illustration in a printed
Block Printing was a costly and
time-consuming process, for each carved block could only be used for a specific
page of a particular book, besides, a single mistake in carving could ruin the
whole block. However movable type changed all of that.
In the Song
Dynasty (960-1279), a man named Bi Sheng carved individual characters on
identical pieces of fine clay. Each piece of movable type had on it one Chinese
character which was carved in relief on a small block of moistened clay. After
the block had been hardened by fire, the type became hard and durable and could
be used wherever required. The pieces of movable type could be glued to an iron
plate and easily detached from the plate. Each piece of character could be
assembled to print a page and then broken up and redistributed as needed. When
the printing was finished, the pieces were put away for future use.
By the year1000,
paged books in the modern style had replaced scrolls. Two color printing (black
and red) was seen as early as 1340.
then spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Europe. Later, German Johann Gutenberg
invented movable type made of metal in the 1440s. Movable Type Printing
developed very fast. Based on clay type, type made of wood, lead, tin and copper