The Glory of Chinese Printing

Character Carving Skills

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LongMen stone carved in Regular Script with characters cut in relief (5th Century.)

The skill of carving characters emerged very early.
The oldest inscriptions were made on oracle bones such as animal bones and shells.
Inscriptions on bronze ware flourished from the Shang Dynasty to the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100 B.C. --- 771 B.C.). Chinese characters were inscribed in clay moulds before casting.
Carving characters on stones came even earlier. Symbol carving on surfaces of cliffs has been traced to extremely ancient times.
Also, the old classics in Great-Seal Script and Small-Seal Script were all carved on stones. The XiPing Stone Inscriptions of the Eastern Han involved carving the Confucian classics in the Clerical Script onto 46 stone tables, totalling around 200,000 characters.
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Stone inscriptions in reverse (Tombstone in the tomb path of Emperor Wen. In 502 A.D. - 557 A.D., Liang Dynasty. )
pgcp08.jpg (47796 bytes) The technique of reverse character carving was an essential precursor to woodblock carving. Seals and signets not only used reversed character carving but also stamping.
XiPing stone scriptures (Eastern Han Dynasty, 175 A.D., in Clerical Script.)

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