Bi Sheng - inventor of movable type printing

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Bi Sheng (972-1051), born in Qishui County, Qizhou, Huainan Road, is an inventor of the Northern Song Dynasty and the inventor of movable type printing.

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Before Bi Sheng invented movable type printing, there were only copying, rubbing and engraving printing, which was cumbersome, laborious and time-consuming. It was not only inconvenient to store, but also difficult to correct wrong words.

Bi Sheng was a craftsman engaged in block printing. He was familiar with and proficient in block printing technology, and finally became the inventor of movable type printing. The biggest disadvantage of engraving a book is that it takes a long time to print it again. If you use movable type edition, you only need to carve a pair of movable type, you can typeset any book, and movable type can be used repeatedly. Although the project of making movable type is larger, it is very convenient to typeset books in the future. Under the inspiration of Bi Sheng's invention of the movable type.

In printing practice, Bi Sheng carefully summarized the experience of his predecessors and invented movable type printing in the Qingli period of Renzong of the Northern Song Dynasty (1041-1048), which died before it was implemented.

The clay movable type and wood movable type typesetting invented by Bi Sheng is a fundamental reform in the development of Chinese printing, a scientific summary of the long-term practical experience of the Chinese working people, and a great contribution to the cultural exchanges between China and other countries in the world.

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