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  • Revisiting the Origin of Printing: Birthplace, Time, and Social Factors
Jounal : Chinese Annals of History of Science and Technology
Author : Xin Deyong    
YEAR : 2021
Vol. : 5
No. : 1
Page : 90–108
Abstract :
A re-examination of the artifacts and research pertaining to woodblock printing reveals that The Great Dharani Sutra of Immaculate and Pure Light (Mugujeonggwang Daedaranigyeong 无垢净光大陀罗尼经) in the Seokgatap Pagoda at the Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju, South Korea unlikely originated in Korea and therefore cannot corroborate the claim that Korea is the birthplace of woodblock printing. It can be inferred from the earliest woodblock-printed Dharani sutra, dating from the Tang dynasty, that printing was invented no earlier than Emperor Xuanzong’s Kaiyuan era (713–741). The most significant social factor for the invention of woodblock printing is the transmission of Yoga Esotericism from India to China, where it prevailed and prompted the evolution of duplicating sutras from separate-plate stamping to woodblock printing using a whole block and from the Sanskrit prints to the Chinese ones.