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   Undertoad  Wednesday Nov 2 05:40 PM

11/2/2005: Traditional Korean printer



Not much information is available on this gent working on this traditional form of Korean printing. It's interesting to see - and to ponder how the process of getting information around has changed over the years.

Imagine a point in history when it took someone an entire day to set the type for a single page. And those pages are the only way to share facts and information. Imagine how collections of these pages would be rare, and subject to destruction through floods and fires and war.

Consider how much information has been lost simply because it couldn't be communicated effectively, or shared. Think of how the most beautiful stories must have been lost in the sands of time. Imagine how our own destiny is similar.

It took me about 30 minutes total to compose this IotD entry; from saving the image, to processing it for the site, to writing the text you read here. And it likely contains more information than the text this person is carving. But probably not more important information.

If it takes a whole day to set a page, IotD would not be critical enough to warrant printing at all. Printing would have to be reserved for holy texts, government edicts, posters of important information, and/or pornography.

Last thought on this one: what if the dude makes a typo?



lawman  Wednesday Nov 2 07:23 PM

That's why Gutenberg's invention was so 'handy'

http://www.gutenberg.de/english/erfindun.htm

what I find amazing that it was only in the 7th century that individual characters were put together for printing multiple copies.



Emrikol  Wednesday Nov 2 08:44 PM

Gutenberg was a weener, and he never made any good porn.

There, I said it! Someone had to.



Clodfobble  Wednesday Nov 2 10:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad
...what if the dude makes a typo?
What, they don't have traditional Korean wood-filler?


xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 3 02:34 AM

It's my understanding that Oriental writing depends heavily on the shape and size of the squiggles and lines that comprise the characters. Hard to believe that carving can convey the nuances.
At least there's no small print to trick you.



CharlieG  Thursday Nov 3 08:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lawman
That's why Gutenberg's invention was so 'handy'

http://www.gutenberg.de/english/erfindun.htm

what I find amazing that it was only in the 7th century that individual characters were put together for printing multiple copies.
Actually, the IDEA existed before Gutenberg - what people don't realize is that his big breakthrough was the ability to make each "type element" the exact same LENGTH, so they could be moved around - in the wood page you see above, you plane the wood smooth, carve the text, and when you push it down onto the paper, which is supported by a platen with a small amount of give , all the characters impact with the same pressure

Now, picture what happens if a piece of type is even .005 short - no impact, or a very light impression.

Now, if you figure out how to make all the type the same lenght, the problem goes away - and THAT was what Gutenberg actually invented, and changed the world - a way to MAKE interchangeable type


Degrees  Thursday Nov 3 09:41 AM

What weirds me out is that to print properly, the press has to be a mirror image of the page. The person who wrote the original caligraphy had to do each symbol backwards. Lysdexia here I come....



axlrosen  Thursday Nov 3 09:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce
It's my understanding that Oriental writing depends heavily on the shape and size of the squiggles and lines that comprise the characters. Hard to believe that carving can convey the nuances.
For Chinese at least, the beauty of Chinese calligraphy depends heavily on the nuances of the brush strokes. But the readability doesn't, any more than it does for English. For example there are many different chinese fonts such as here


Karenv  Thursday Nov 3 11:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce
It's my understanding that Oriental writing depends heavily on the shape and size of the squiggles and lines that comprise the characters. Hard to believe that carving can convey the nuances.
At least there's no small print to trick you.
Carving is his art form, akin to sculpture, and like any written form of art can convey nuances. Certainly better than movable type. In fact we probably have lost more nuance post-Gutenberg (but retained more of the mediochre stories).

And of course he probably thinks of characters in their mirror image. Because that is what he does.

(I wonder if character carvers are less dyslexic than exercise instructors who have to switch left and right all the time. )


impu1se  Thursday Nov 3 11:47 AM

I'm pretty sure that isn't Korean. Just look at the fonts link posted above it's probably Chinese. I think Korean has one of the most versatile rationally designed phonetic alphabets in the world.



srom  Thursday Nov 3 02:16 PM

it probably is chinese, but even after the invention of the korean alphabet scholarly people continued to use chinese because the korean alphabet was so easy to use, it was just TOO easy. strange but true!

i dunno what happens if the guy makes a typo... he probably just gets fired, heh.

koreans invented moveable type centuries before gutenberg did. they just weren't so big on announcing it to every country, i guess. it's probably a really special document he's making, since he's making the entire text just one big block instead of making the text out of lots of little ones.

some people are still into making moveable typefaces. nowadays... they make 'em out of steel... yikes!



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Nov 4 01:23 AM

Hi, srom. Welcome to the Cellar.
Read what CharlieG posted about Gutenberg inventing interchangeable type of uniform depth.

I think that picture was taken at the Frankfurt Book Fair, this year, where South Korea was the "Guest of Honor".



n3v3r  Tuesday Nov 8 06:43 PM

Yes, this is definitely Chinese, not sure which dialect though...
Does that mean he is using an old Korean printing method to print Chinese characters?



russotto  Tuesday Nov 8 11:13 PM

It's probably Korean. For everyday use, Korean is written using Hangul, a 15th century phonetic alphabet. But Korean can still be written using Chinese characters, and for decorative work like this, would be.



BigV  Friday Nov 25 03:14 PM

*ignoring all the Korean / Gutenberg talk*

What is this fellow actually making the print block for, I wonder?

and

How did the characters get printed on the wood in the first place? Were the hand lettered? If so, then there was ample room for artistic license in the production of each character. Granted all the characters are made in reverse, but they're either handmade, or, what, stamped onto the wood with a bunch of smaller individual stamps? If so, why not use those stamps in a moveable type fashion?



xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Nov 27 08:11 AM

It was a demo at an international book fair, V.



BigV  Sunday Nov 27 05:48 PM

Thank you, sir.



Ibby  Tuesday May 16 01:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by n3v3r
Yes, this is definitely Chinese, not sure which dialect though...
Thanks to Qin Shi Huang Di, the first Emperor of all China, ALL chinese dialects are written the same. Most are spoken completely differently, but written, are identical.

Heh, I love ressurecting old dead threads.


aliasyzy  Tuesday May 16 09:40 AM

I think who invented moveable type earlier is no big deal. It's natural to consider moveable type when people want to be more effcient.
The moveable type has been invented and developed in China since 10th century, but the whole block method was still widely used for a very long period. I don't know why, but this means the moveable type method that time had soft spots in some aspects. So, I think Gutenberg's invention is more important, for the idea of moveable type was put in practice perfectly since then.



wacho777  Wednesday May 24 10:26 AM

the best way to get the text on the wood is to ink a pice of rice paper lay it over wood then wet



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday May 24 08:43 PM

Welcome to the Cellar, wacho777.

Are you suggesting printing on rice paper, transfer to the wood, carve the wood around the printing, then use the wood to print multiple paper copies?



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday May 24 08:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by aliasyzy
I think who invented moveable type earlier is no big deal. It's natural to consider moveable type when people want to be more effcient.
The moveable type has been invented and developed in China since 10th century, but the whole block method was still widely used for a very long period. I don't know why, but this means the movable type method that time had soft spots in some aspects. So, I think Gutenberg's invention is more important, for the idea of movable type was put in practice perfectly since then.
As I understand it, individual letters and words were used to print for a while. What Gutenberg did was make type that was all the same height, to produce a printed uniform page, repeatedly.


kyrasantae  Tuesday Aug 1 01:45 AM

For the record, the text in the carving is the first two pages of the 1446 work "Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye" (Explanations and Examples of the Proper Sounds for the Education of the People), one of the texts which explained how the new (at the time) Hangul alphabet worked. Since Chinese characters (hanja) were used before Hangul was invented, the text is primarily written that way.

(More info)
You can see the orignal pages here. It looks like the print on the block was printed from these images



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Aug 1 08:06 AM

Hey thanks, kyrasantae. Welcome to the Cellar.

Since it was a demonstration/show piece for a German Book Fair (I think*), it would follow that they would use a historical document to copy.

*It also makes sense that the link is in German.



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