Woodblock printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns used widely throughout East Asia and probably originating in India in antiquity as a method of printing on textiles and later paper. As a method of printing on cloth, the earliest surviving examples from India date to before 220. Textile printing was known in India, via the Islamic world, from about the 12th century, and widely used. However, the European dyes tended to liquify, which restricted the use of printed patterns. Fairly large and ambitious designs were printed for decorative purposes such as wall-hangings and lectern-cloths, where this was less of a problem as they did not need washing. When paper became common, the technology was rapidly used on that for woodcut prints. Superior cloth was also imported from Indian countries, but this was much more real and with organic colour.

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