About Printing Printing is a process for reproducing text and images, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing. The earliest form of printing was woodblock printing, with existing examples from China dating to before 220 A.D. and Egypt to the fourth century. Later developments in printing include the movable type, first developed by Bi Sheng in China, and the printing press, a more efficient printing process for western languages with their more limited alphabets, developed by Johannes Gutenberg in the fifteenth century. Print is one of the four important inventions in ancient Chinese history, it is widely used since its invention. It is ascertained Chinese woodblock print invented at least in the period between late Sui Dynasty (589 AD - 618 AD) and early Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 906 AD).
According to the ancient documents, the first woodblock printing book in China is Nv Ze (Females Regulation), which records the regulation for all the Females in Tang Dynasty royal palace, but this book has not been handed down, only exists in documents.
In 645 AD, When Tang Xuan Zang , the famous Tang Dynasty Buddhist Monk, bringing Sutras from Sindhu (now the country is called India) back to Chang An, the capital of Tang Dynasty, he used to print huge amount of Buddha Pu Xian images in rice paper.
The oldest book made of woodblocks known so far with the exactly date, is the Diamond Sutra from Dunhuang - dated to 15 th April the 9 th year of Xian Tong whi ch is 868 AD. Judging from the skills and techniques of the Sutra , this Diamond Sutra is the highly development level of woodblock print apparently, and the woodblock must had been developed for at least 200 years before 868 AD. In 1907 Diamond Stra was stolen by Marc Aurel Stein (1862—1943）, it is now in the British Museum collection