Ruth E. Adomeit|
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Near and Far East
Miniature book production in the East has many parallels with that of the West, and some distinctive differences. Religious texts were and are popular, but in place of Christian literature and the Bible, the texts are from the major religions of the Near and Far East, including Korans, Buddhist sutras, Confucian and Hindu religious texts. In addition, some non-Western texts were printed by West European printers such as David Bryce of Glasgow, just as Roman alphabet texts were and are produced in the East. Printing in Hebrew occurred both in connection with major centers of Jewish cultural activity, and for the use of Christian Biblical scholars.
Paper was invented in China circa A.D. 105, and block printing in China precedes Gutenberg's application of movable type and a press to printing by over six centuries. The earliest verified printing from wooden blocks on paper took place in Japan circa 770. It is a charm from the Muku Jo-ko Sutra, printed in Sanskrit transliterated into Chinese characters on a miniature scroll by order of the Japanese Empress Shotoku. Thus the East has a tradition of making miniatures of over 12 centuries, extending through the numerous technological changes in printing processes, and still active today in the same type of specialty or small press printing also found in Eastern and Western Europe and the Americas.