The Chinese Invention that Changed the World

Our modern printing technology originates from China, where the world’s first woodblock art piece, the Diamond Sutra, was created during the Tang dynasty in 868 AD. Later in the 14th century, the technology in its advanced form spread to Europe leaving a mark to our modern culture. Because of the printing technique,  cultures was now able to be spread and expressed in forms of printed material.


The original artifacts were carved on woodblocks made of pear or jujube tree using a thin paper, rice paste and a special knife, Quan Dao. The rice paste was poured on the woodblock. Then the special paper with artwork on it, was placed on the woodblock. After cautiously removing the paper with Quan Dao, the art piece was printed on the woodblock. The woodblock could now be used to print pieces of art on paper.


The Europeans started using the technology in the 14th century. Only difference was that where the Europeans used only one block to print, say, an image, the Chinese divided the image on several woodblocks. It is unclear how the Chinese invention was brought to Europe. Some experts say it was the missionaries who had learned the technique during their stay in China.

Shanghai Metal Corporation on its behalf continues the Chinese legacy by offering industry standard printing presses for offices worldwide. To know more about our products, please take a look at our website. Please also follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Original articles:,

Pictures: Wikipedia, Blogspot



Shanghai Metal Corporation

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