- 山形大学紀要. 人文科学 = Bulletin of Yamagata University. Humanities
- vol.16, no.1, pp.1(196)-11(186), 2006-02-15 (Released:2015-08-21)
Gutenberg's. system of technique did spread all over the western world, as soon as it was established in the first half of 15th Century. Compared with the arts of typographic printing in West Europe, they were established much earlier in East Asia, but they did not spread all over East Asia. The situation that was ever seen in the East is in sharp contrast to the situation in the West. It has been repeatedly said that, in order to explain the contrast, the predominant factor is the difference of writing systems, simple alphabetical one being used in the West and complicated Chinese characters as ideograms and hieroglyphs. Nevertheless, We discuss here additional significant factors which are inherent within the technological context. Both the clay (ceramic) movable-types, invented in China four centuries before the Gutenberg revolution, and the wooden movable-types, succeeded to be utilized in China in the early 14th century, were fabricated without molds one by one. The metal movable-types, first initiated in Korea in 13th century, were cast with prototypes and matrices, but the prototypes made of beeswax or paraffin wax completely melted down and the matrices made of clay or sand were destroyed on each occasion. On the contrary, both the prototypes (punches) and matrices in the Gutenberg technical system could be used repeatedly and almost permanenently. Thus, thd Gutenberg technical system has gained a higher ripeness of reproduction technology. Such difference has determined the ups and downs of early arts of typographic printing in the East and the West.