The Chinese invented woodblock printing for reproducing text, images or patterns, first using it to print on textiles and, later, on paper. The existing examples of woodblock printing on cloth originated before 220 A.D.
This technique was more widely used during the Tan Dynasty (618 to 907 A.D.) and gradually spread to Japan and other countries. Woodblock printing remained the most common East Asian printing method until the 19th century. For printing, the woodblock was prepared as a relief pattern. The areas to show in white were cut away, leaving the characters or image to show in black at the original surface level. A new block had to be carved for every page in a book. A single mistake meant re-carving the entire block. When Europeans use this technique to print images, it is called woodcut.