Early Printing in Korea - 4. The Invention and Development of Metal Movable Type Printing
|Understanding Korea Series No.2|
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|3) Other Early Printing||4. The Invention and Development of Metal Movable Type Printing||1) Metal Movable Type Casting|
A book was the typical medium of spreading knowledge in a traditional society. Movable type and woodblock printing techniques, fundamental technologies for printing books, advanced frequently and played a crucial role in creating the infrastructure for the development of academics and philosophies. These techniques allowed the printing of all types of books, including but not limited to study guides and religious and other types of publications. Since inventing metal movable type in the early 13th century during the mid-Goryeo Dynasty, Korea came to own metal movable type and printing technology for the first time in history. It is one of the fundamental technologies that made the rapid transmission of knowledge possible for humanity, so it is a source of immense pride for Koreans. How does this invaluable metal movable type make prints? Previously, metal movable type printing was discussed. Now the typecasting process and typesetting for printing will be examined in more detail.
Metal movable type refers to movable type made of any metal, including copper, lead and iron. Korea’s metal movable type, traditionally called juja (鑄字, type cast), is the oldest in the world, and the hypothesis that it was invented in the early 13th century during the Goryeo Dynasty has been established in several ways. The only dispute is over the exact date, of which there are several theories. Currently, it is believed that the invention occurred before the 19th year of King Gojong’s reign (1232). That theory is based on the record found in the epilogue of Nammyeongcheonhwasangsongjeongdoga (南明泉和尙頌證道歌, Hymn of Monk Cheon in Homage to the Buddha) which is a re-engraved edition from the original jujabon edition. In 2011, type pieces that were actually used in printing Nammyeongcheonhwasangsongjeongdoga were newly excavated and named as “Jeungdogaja (證道歌字, Jeungdoga type piece ).” Scientific analysis confirmed it to be cast before the beginning of the 13th century. More research on this Jeungdogaja may discover that this invention may date even further back.
There have been other examples known to be of the Goryeo metal movable type discovered before this Jeungdogaja. There are the fonts named after the book they were used in, Jeungdogaja, Sangjeongyemunja (詳定禮文字) and Heungdeoksaja (興德寺字), and the physical type piece from Goryeo named bok (). Various research on topics including print methods, typecasting techniques, typesetting methods, filaments, and differences compared to the Western printing technology have been conducted using these samples.
|Understanding Korea Series No.2 Early Printings in Korea|