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Centuries-old printing technique makes a comeback

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-11-20 10:26
A letterpress printed thank-you note designed by iloovee, a Beijing-based letterpress studio. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. Are you racking your brains to come up with gifts that can aptly show your gratitude or love?

Letterpress items, such as a thank-you note, may be exactly what you need to impress your beloved ones.

We aren't bluffing. Letterpress, a centuries-old printing technique, is making an elegant comeback in China as designers, artists and consumers are rediscovering the beauty and craftsmanship behind it.

Gaining a new lease on life

Essentially a kind of movable type printing, letterpress is a technique of relief printing that came into being in the mid-15th century. German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg converted a wine press into a printing press, which turned inked letters into reams of books and remained as the norm of printing for five centuries.

"The movable type printing is our heritage as it was invented by Bi Sheng in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and then was spread to the West some 400 years later," said Peng Junzhang, initiator of China's first letterpress art festival.

Gutenberg's inventions played a key role in ushering in the era of mass communication, adding fuel to the Renaissance and the Reformation, which enlightened minds and permanently altered the structure of society.

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