Chodowiecki Basedow Tafel 21 c Z. The history of printing goes back to the duplication of images by means of stamps in very early times. The use of round seals for rolling an impression into clay tablets goes back history lettering wikipedia early Mesopotamian civilization before 3000 BCE, they feature complex and beautiful images.
In both China and Egypt, the use of small stamps for seals preceded the use of larger blocks. Hands at the Cuevas de las Manos upon Río Pinturas, near the town of Perito Moreno in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Hand stencils, made by blowing pigment over a hand held against a wall, have been found in Asia and Europe dating from over 35,000 years ago, and later prehistoric dates in other continents. In China seals were used since at least the Shang dynasty.
In the Western Zhou, sets of seal stamps were encased in blocks of type and used on clay moulds for casting bronzes. By the end of the 3rd century BC seals were also used for printing on pottery. In the Northern dynasties textual sources contain references to wooden seals with up to 120 characters. The seals had a religious element to them. Daoists used seals as healing devices by impressing therapeutic characters onto the flesh of sick people. They were also used to stamp food, creating a talismanic character to ward off disease. The first evidence of these practices appeared under a Buddhist context in the mid 5th century.
Centuries later seals were used to create hundreds of Buddha images. Stone and bronze blocks have been used to print fabric. Archaeological evidence of them have been unearthed at Mawangdui and in the tomb of the King of Nanyue, while block printed fabrics have been discovered at Mashan zhuanchang in Jiangling, Hubei. In the 4th century the practice of creating paper rubbings of stone carvings such as calligraphic models and texts took hold. Among the earliest evidence of this is a stone inscription cut in mirror image from the early 6th century.
Piece of a Western Xia wooden printing block for a Buddhist text written in Tangut script. Discovered in 1990 in the Hongfo Pagoda at Helan County, Ningxia. Korean wood printing block from the 19th century, on display at the British Museum in London. Liu family needle shop at Jinan. Ceramic movable type print from the Western Xia. Wooden movable type for Old Uyghur alphabet, dated to the 12th-13th centuries.
It became widely used throughout East Asia both as a method for printing on textiles and later, under the influence of Buddhism, on paper. According to southern Chinese histories, during the 480s, a man named Gong Xuanxuan styled himself Gong the Sage and ‘said that a supernatural being had given him a “jade seal jade block writing,” which did not require a brush: one blew on the paper and characters formed. He then used his powers to mystify a local governor. The rise of printing was greatly influenced by Mahayana Buddhism. According to Mahayana beliefs, religious texts hold intrinsic value for carrying the Buddha’s word and act as talismanic objects containing sacred power capable of warding off evil spirits. By copying and preserving these texts, Buddhists could accrue personal merit.
Evidence of woodblock printing appeared in Korea and Japan soon afterward. The oldest extant evidence of woodblock prints created for the purpose of reading are portions of the Lotus Sutra discovered at Turpan in 1906. They have been dated to the reign of Wu Zetian using character form recognition. The oldest text containing a specific date of printing was discovered in the Mogao Caves of Dunhuang in 1907 by Aurel Stein. From 932 to 955 the Twelve Classics and an assortment of other texts were printed. During the Song dynasty, the Directorate of education and other agencies used these block prints to disseminate their standardized versions of the Classics.