Talk:Woodblock printing

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Merge proposed[edit]

Block printing, better known as relief printing, should be merged with the printmaking page. Regardless of the information printed, whether it be text or an image, it is utilizing printmaking techniques, and should therefore be with that article.

What about woodcut? – Morganfitzp 05:17, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
A merger is unnecessary. As long as cross-references are posted, printmaking is the more general page and block printing is the more specific. I suggest the term revision to relief printing instead of block printing be implemented. Also, the entry would be enhanced by more examples and technique information on linoleum and other non-wood surfaces. --BeckyIB 04:41, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
A merger would be counter-productive and simplifying each kind of print. The artistic techniques, tools, effects and results are all vastly different, each can have list of good examples with pictures. Keep the articles separate. Goldenrowley

The merge tags are for block printing and woodblock printing, not the general printing article; the information about block printing does seem to be duplicated between these two articles & they could probably benefit from a merger. phoebe 23:38, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Merge. It looks like they are the same thing. - jlao04 12:09, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

- I'm not sure why the earlier comments seem to be discussing a merger between printmaking and this, which would clearly be a bad idea. The merge tags I have seen relate to a merger between block printing and woodblock printing, which I have already supported below. Johnbod 16:33, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

- Merge now done; thanks to all for comments. I think everyone who commented was in favour of the actual merge done with Block printing, as opposed to the earlier proposal with Printmaking Johnbod 03:09, 22 November 2006 (UTC)


I'd say yes - these are essentially talking about Asian printing of image plus text on the same block. Neither cover Western techniques really (I have just added a bit to this one to improve that) Johnbod 23:14, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

I would also say yes, though on other pages dealing with printing it has been problematic how to discuss the Asian and the European techniques and traditions together, and the merge would need to be careful here. I don't think there's a dissent, but, Johnbod, you would seem to be the person to do it (and of course for others to then edit.).DGG 02:43, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

press for printing woodblocks?[edit]

In Asia, woodblocks were not typically printed on a mechanical press, but the paper was put on the block and rubbed against the type--I'm putting in a ref. But in Europe was a block used in the early period? Does anyone have a ref?DGG 23:41, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Blockbooks like ars moriendi predate the printing press, as do woodcuts. see old master print also Johnbod 21:29, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

or : An Introduction to a History of Woodcut, Arthur M. Hind,p , Houghton Mifflin Co. 1935 (in USA), reprinted Dover Publications, 1963 ISBN: 0-486-20952-0

in 2 vols - for the full monty Johnbod 21:32, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

- actually to correct my comment above; woodcuts predate the printing press but block-books are now thought not to (by a matter of ten years or so). However they were very likely not all produced on one, especially the earlier ones. Johnbod 16:30, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

I ask again for the evidence for the above statement--and especially the dates.
I also ask for actual evidence linking the Chinese and European traditions, reasonable though the connection appears. DGG 02:39, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

- What are you asking "again" about? it's all in Hind, vol I, start of chapter 3, and covered in old master print. The process first came to europe as a fabric-printing one. i'll have to look again at the article to see if i can work out what your vague but insistent questions actually are. Johnbod 03:34, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

- I can't really work it out. Please read old master print, and blockbooks & if you still have questions please phrase them precisely Johnbod 03:36, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

- actually blockbooks just comes back here, doesn't it. we are going round in circles. I think i am thrown by your: " But in Europe was a block used in the early period? Does anyone have a ref?" - above. should "block" be "press" here? The answer is no one seems to know; it would not be necessary. If you do mean block, the answer is certainly yes; Hind & the other refs at old master print have tons on that- oldest surviving actual block dated to 1390 etc. Johnbod 04:00, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

sorry, yes I meant press. DGG

- looking at Hind again, it is a bit confused, as you can't easily tell from a print how it was printed. The fabrics, & most early woodcuts (1400-40 Hind p3) were printed by stamping - putting the paper/fabric on a table or whatever, the block on top & pressing, hammering or whatever. Or there was "printing with the rubber" - block face up on a table, paper/fabric on top & rubbed with a "hard pad, a flat piece of wood, a burnisher, or a leather frotton" (p4-5) Take your pick. Mostly 2nd & 3rd 1/4s of C15 for prints - these you may be able to tell by looking the back (where Victorians etc have not pasted them to a mount).

But he hedges the question of whether the "simple presses for bookbinding & other crafts [that]must have been in use well before" Gutenberg were used for prints. He quotes an inventory of 1465 from a deceased Abbess of Malines (now called something else i think) who had "unum instrumentum ad imprintendum scripturas et ymagines ... cum 14 aliis lapideis printis" - which he seems to suggest & I would have thought was too early to be a Gutenberg-type printing press in that location.

Hope that helps. For your History of typography you might also want to consider metalworkers punches with letters. Johnbod 15:48, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Your edits, information, and references are all helpful and much appreciatedDGG 20:09, 19 November 2006 (UTC)


Johnbod, you've added a section on color--are there any specific european exam[ples you can mention?

and perhaps you should say the use of chiaroscuro here is specialised, for in other conexts in means light/dark. DGG 01:42, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

- I know; I have added a bit to chiaroscuro to cover prints, but really they need a separate article, or at least a section in Old Master print. I have plenty of examples (Burgkmair, Baldung, Cranach, Ugo da Carpi, Goltzius etc - I think all in the chiaroscuro article), but I think no images on Commons Johnbod 01:48, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Presses again - Europe & Asia[edit]

Copied from DGG's talk page:

Re: your comments on Woodblock printing: ""an instrument for printing texts and pictures ... with 14 stones for printing" which is probably too early to be a Gutenberg-type printing press in that location.[1] "

I don't know anything about this case in particular, but from the context, I would imagine that the "stones" referred to are printing blocks - i.e. with letters or characters carved into them - and not weights. LordAmeth 10:04, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

LA, That was my quote originally. I considered blocks, & it is possible, but from my not very good Latin "lapideis" should definitely mean "stones" (as in lapidiary etc) & neither stone nor even clay blocks seem ever to have been used in Europe. It isn't translated it in my source unfortunately, perhaps from the same uncertainty - nor does he comment on what it might be. Do you know anyone with good medieval Latin? As I think I may have said in the talk page, at the moment I suspect weights is right, although screws were very familiar technology. PS your Japanese "printing-press"es had the fur flying at History of typography in East Asia yesterday. There they are now "printing-equipment"! Johnbod 13:56, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

That's really funny. I love stirring up discussion (but not necessarily argument). That said, the equipment used for printing in Japan, especially after 1765, can surely be classified as a press, no? Just because it doesn't use moveable type doesn't mean that it doesn't employ a complex mechanism to ensure consistent pressure and precise alignment of block to page... LordAmeth 14:16, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

So I argued on the talk page, but "press" is a sensitive word in this context. Pending finding out what they looked like, we're at "printing equipment" there now. Sorry to talk across your page, DGG! Johnbod 01:46, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

The above all from DGG's Talk page copied by Johnbod 02:01, 17 December 2006 (UTC)


I am reluctant to suggest something involving so much work, but converting the reference format to Harvard referencing would make it very easy to integrate the material referenced with the bibliographic citation, eg. , " ... who all used this technique as shown by Xyz(1999)." DGG 05:46, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I am unsure whee to post this, as the main article seems closed to editing. There are several inaccuracies in the main article re: Korean involvement. There is a deliberate propaganda campaign in Korea/among Koreans, to promote their biased, national views on world history in whatever media they can find. I am not opposed to such contribution where it follows the rules, but in this article their information is unsourced. Four of the citations they include are for copyright, personal websites, or Korean media (not scholarly) sources. It is not neutral, or verifiable encyclopedic information. Thanks. (I understand that my post does not follow protocol, and accept its deletion for such, so long as someone becomes aware of the problems with this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:47, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Textile printing in Egypt[edit]

I am trying to remove links to the website from article space for a variety of reasons, including the occasional but glaring inaccuracy. (See xxxx for the relevant discussion.) In my efforts, I discovered the statement in this article (and several others) that says there were printed textiles in fourth-century Egypt. This statement is sourced to a Touregypt article, which mentions printed textiles but does not deal at all with the invention or evolution of printing. The article also had several sentences that seem to be original research based on the presence of printed cloth in Egypt.

Pursuing the issue further, I also found Woodblock printing on textiles, which seems to be entirely copied from the 1911 Britannica. This section of the article demonstrates that the Egyptian printed textiles are not simply some kind of error by a Touregypt writer. Even so, between the original research and the link to a questionable source, I'd rather remove this material until better sources, addressing the evolution of printing directly, can be found. I'm reproducing these statements below (the parts I removed from the article are in italics), so they can be restored if sources are found. A. Parrot (talk) 01:14, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

As a method of printing on cloth, the earliest surviving examples from China date to before 220, and from Egypt to the 4th century.

The earliest Egyptian printed cloth dates from the 4th century. The dry conditions in Egypt are exceptionally good for preserving fabric compared to, for example, India.

In Egypt, Europe, and India, the printing of cloth certainly preceded the printing of paper or papyrus; this was probably also the case in China.

It is not clear if the Egyptian printing of cloth was learned from China, or elsewhere, or developed separately.

  • What is "xxxx", and the "This section" link just goes to a WP article. According to this book Coptic printed textiles go back to the 6th century, or possibly the 6th-9th. It is clear dating of these things is pretty chaotic, as most reach the art market without good details of where they were found. Bear in mind that the Gobi Desert (from the edges of which the Chinese finds come I think) and Egypt are about the only places in Eurasia where a textile in the ground can survive 1500 years, and that textiles are very mobile, and the technology is very simple - I don't know what "evolution" you are looking for. The Indians may well have been producing tons of printed fabric (and there are a few finds in Egypt that are Indian, from the 10th century onwards) but none will survive locally (even without cremation). Johnbod (talk) 02:25, 19 March 2012 (UTC)