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The Oldest Woodblock Printed Fragments from China
Circa 220 CE
"Printed and painted gauze Western Han Dynasty Length: 59cm, width: 40cm Unearthed from Xin Zhui’s tomb. Clothing material. The design on it is a morphing pattern with vines, consisting of branches, tendrils, buds, flowers and leaves. Slightly lozenge -shaped in outline, the patterns are intricately arranged and connected with each other. The curving tendrils are printed on the fabric while the buds, flowers and leaves are painted. This is the earliest textile ever discovered that combines printing and painting methods, and is a masterpiece of printed and painted fabric from ancient China. Three silk-floss padded garments made from printed and painted gauze were unearthed from the same tomb. This gorgeous, fashionable material was evidently favored by female noblewomen of the time." Hunan Museum, Hunan, China.
The earliest woodblock printed fragments to survive are from China and are of silk printed with flowers in three colors from the Han dynasty (before 220 CE).