Chinese Woodblock Prints
Woodblock printing first appeared in China around 600, probably following by the much older use of bronze or stone seals to make imprints on clay and silk. At first, woodblock printing was mainly used for printing calendars, calligraphy, charms as well as books on agriculture and medicine. In 762, the first commercially printed books were sold in the markets of the Tang capital, Chang’an. By the end of Tang dynasty, the process for block printing on paper was perfected.
The limitations of woodblock printing led to the invention of moveable-type printing during the Song dynasty. In China, because of the thousands of ideograms required to write in Chinese, moveable type was not as efficient as it would be four hundred years later in Western Europe so woodblock printing remained popular in China and Chinese woodblock prints golden age spanned from the late 16th through the 19th century.