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China engraved block printing technique

Updated: Aug 02, 2018 Print


Tourists make their own printing work through the engraved block printing technique. [Photo/Xinhua]

The engraved block printing technique is known as a "living fossil" in the history of printing.

Yangzhou is the birthplace of the engraved block printing technique. It is the only city in China that still preserves full knowledge of ancient engraved printing techniques.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the protection of this intangible cultural heritage. In 2009, the engraved block printing techniques were officially listed as a "World Intangible Cultural Heritage".

The blocks chosen should be polished with sandpaper and cut to a thickness of two centimeters. Manuscripts are written onto thin paper before they are stuck onto blocks. The inked characters provide a guide for artisans who cut the whole manuscript into the wood, producing raised characters which will apply ink to paper.

Wood engravings deteriorate more slowly than other forms of engravings, and have a distinctive white-on-black character.  

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