This is the first in a series of films made about the cultural heritage of China, and covers the art of block printing, which was first introduced in China in the 7th century. It was used at that time for the printing of Buddhist and other religious books, and also for literary works that are still appreciated today.
After the introduction of western style printing presses at the turn of the 20th century the ancient arts were in danger of being lost, and only through the generational efforts of traditional carvers has the art been kept alive. It is now undergoing a renaissance, as people once again understand the value of hand carved books.
We follow the work of one such family in Hangzhou, a traditional centre for the craft, and also of a young poet and collector, who is getting his own verse carved in wood blocks for his new book. It is good to see the traditional arts and crafts being passed down from generation to generation and that they now have some support from the authorities and enthusiasts also.
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