Chinese Printing Block Advertising Medications
AGE: – Unknown – Likely first half of 20th century
CONSTRUCTION: – Wood and metal
HEIGHT: – 22.7cm
WIDTH: – 13cm
DEPTH: – 2.5cm
WEIGHT: – 650gms
#206 – PRICE: CONTACT
Antique Chinese Printing Block Advertising Medications with metal plate Type Text is related to medicinal advertising, likely to be Chinese herbal medicine, written in Chinese characters. This block was probably commissioned by a medical company to place advertisements in publications of the times. Unlike this similar printing block, which has both English and Chinese there is no English to explain exactly what they are advertising.
Metal Plate Printing Block made from Plaster Cast
This particular type of printing block may have been made using a plaster cast and could have been made in China, Malaysia, or Singapore, we tend to lean more towards Malaysia or Singapore because of the English-speaking expatriates who lived there at the turn of the 20th century and the large population of migrants from China.
The Oxford Illustrated History of the Book
edited by James Raven
At the beginning of the 19th century, Lord Stanhope developed a printing press made of metal which allowed for large-format printing, he also contributed to the commercial success of the stereotyping process, that is — printing from a solid plate of type metal cast from plaster.
The technique was widely adopted and used for reprinting throughout the 19th and earth 20th centuries. The stereotype plate was first used in the United States in 1813 and remained one of the most distinctive aspects of American book production.
The beginning of Moveable Letterpress Printing.
By the end of the Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD) moveable type had been perfected, and up until the Song dynasty woodblock printing was used mainly to distribute religious texts and announcements to the people, this extended into printing books and illustrations, with the next step being the introduction of color, mainly vermilion (red) and black.
Early woodblock printing involved chiseling an entire page of text into a block of wood in reverse. In the 8th century printers in Zhejiang, China produced a copy of the Tripitaka using approximately 130,000 wooden printing blocks.
During the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) printing techniques became more sophisticated with the introduction of full color and with that a much wider range of literature and advertising followed.
Although the introduction of metal type has been recognized as the invention of Johannes Gutenberg in the 1400s, one hundred and fifty years prior to this, Choe Yun-ui, a Korean civil minister who lived during the Goryeo dynasty used moveable metal type to compile the Sangjeong Yemun. With the help of another 16 scholars, they published a set of 50 books that established the system of official uniforms, and the hierarchy of official ranks from kings to subjects, in order to prevent conflicts and social unrest.
To read more on the history of block printing this is an excellent website