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Primitive printing course
Technology

For Dege Sutra-Printing House, from its founding to late 1950s, the printing materials like printing-blocks, ink, paper are all taken from the local place except cinnabar which comes from other places. Its manufacture technology is very fastidious and highly traditional. Materials for printing-blocks are selected from the knotless red birch produced in Dege. Baiyu and Jiangda counties, which is processed through cutting into sections, drying by fire-cure, soaking in water, boiling, baking and planning, and made ready for use. The writing of the printing-blocks is done strictly in accordance with The 40 Standards of Tibetan Calligraphy written by Chionpo Yuchyi and Rongpowa the two famous Tibetan calligraphers of Dege and based on the size of the blocks while the cutting of blocks is done by skilled artisans who have gone through strict examinations. And the cut blocks must be proofread and revised to prove absolutely correct before entering the process of printing. The whole process from writing to cutting has to go through 12 times of proofreading. For this reason the printing-blocks of Dege Sutra-Printing House enjoy the reputation of " the most standard classic block eTibetan papermakingdition in the Khampa (Kham) region". Materials for printings are mainly two kinds of smoke-ink, of which one is burnt from large azalea barks to be used for printing and another is burnt from large-leaf willow to be used for writing. The paper is made of the root-hairs of "AGyiaoRuGyiao" (Stellera chamaejasme L.), which consist of three layers, namely, the inner layer, the middle layer and the outside layer. Paper made of the middle layer is fine and smooth and very white, being first-class paper specially used as official document paper by the Dege headman. Paper made of the inner and outside layers belongs to the second class to be mainly used for printing in the Dege Sutra-Printing House. And paper made of all the three layers of root hairs is thick and coarse called the third-class paper which is usually used for making packing-papers foPrimitive printing course of block printsr Sutra-volumes or Prayer Flags paintings. After 1979, the above smoke-ink and root-hair paper were replaced by Chengdu-made prepared ink and Ya'an-made paper and the whole printing technological process includes paper-cutting, paper-soaking, ink-blending, grinding, cinnabar-mixing, edition-taking, printing, air-drying, block-washing, storing, page-dividing, proofreading, bookbinding, polishing, edge-coluring and packing. The whole work is both streamlined and intersected, all in an orderly way.