Movable metal type blocks, which predate that of “Jikji,” currently regarded as the world’s oldest movable metal print book, is revealed by Nam Kwon-heui, a professor of Kyungpook National University, at Daboseong, an antique gallery in Insa-dong, central Seoul, Wednesday.
By Chung Ah-young
A bibliography professor claimed Wednesday he has found 12 movable metal type blocks, which predate that of “Jikji,”currently regarded as the world’s oldest movable metal print book by more than a hundred years.
Nam Kwon-heui, a professor of Kyungpook National University, argued that he has confirmed 12 metal blocks date back to the early 13th century during the Goryeo Kingdom, 138 years earlier than the Korean Buddhist document.
The blocks were among some 100 metal type blocks owned by Daboseong, an antique gallery.
Registered as the world’s oldest metalloid type in 2001 by UNESCO, “Jikji”was published in Heungdeok Temple in 1377, 78 years ahead of Johannes Gutenberg’s acclaimed “42-Line Bible”printed in 1452 to 1455. But its original metal type does not remain with the second volume of the printed version now preserved at the National Library of France.
“Jikji’s metal type was created in the provincial area but this was believed to have been made and used in the central government. So it is very important to reveal historical changes in printing technology in the Goryeo Kingdom,”Nam said in a statement.
The newly discovered metal type blocks were mentioned in historical documents. Choi I, a top military officer in the early Joseon Kingdom, ordered a printing of “Jeungdoga”using woodblock print, reproduced from the metal type, in 1239. The professor, thus, claimed that the metal type prints were circulated before the woodblock prints were.