Mongolian wooden printing board or Xylography

2019-04-10 14:58:30

Mongolians have been recorded to use wooden printing boards or xylograph to print books since ancient times. A wooden board with carvings of letters and imagery for printing is called “bar” in Mongolian.

From simple letters to the most complicated portraits of furious deities with multiple heads and arms, various imagery is intricately carved on a dried and smoothened birch lumber ranging from a very small size to 1 meter, and stored in a dry place.

To carve the wooden printing board, first, the image must be drawn mirrored, and then everything except the lines is to be chipped off. After evenly putting ink on the carved wooden board, it is used to be printed on paper, silk or cloth by “ironing” it.

Having first originated in the Han Dynasty in modern day China, Koreans are recorded to have begun to make books with 200,000 letters made with metal by the end of 13th century during the Yuan Dynasty.

One of the various wooden printing boards related to Buddhist sutras and religious rituals stored at the National Library of Mongolia is the wooden printing board of the Merged Garahiin oron (Towards Attaining Wisdom) Tibetan-Mongolian glossary.

The wooden printing board of the Tibetan-Mongolian glossary was registered by the Government of Mongolia as a unique cultural heritage in 2012, and listed as a Memory of the World by the UNESCO on May 19, 2016.

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