Block books

xylographic productions orginated in Asia.

(xylographic is technical term for relief printing from a raised surface)


European xylographic print had developed into two types:

  1. classical printing blocks where the picture and the text were cut in the wooden block
  2. compromising type where the printed picture was complemented by handwritten text.

Poor Man's Bible or (Bible of the Poor), Bibjia Pauperum 1465 (germany)
The Art of Dying, "Ars Moriendi" 1466 (Flemish)

typical of the books before the process of type printing was invented.

It was cheap and designed for those who could not afford the high prices demanded for manuscript books and who probably could not even have read them.

The Bible of the Poor was misnamed, as it was not intended for the non clergy,

These books were made for priests, mostly illiterate, who found the pictures an aid for their preaching.




1st example of printed Propaganda

Presented as a series in books

Priests used these books to inspire their members to deal with death with dignity.

Five woodcuts (1, 3, 5, 7, and 9) illustrated the great temptations.

The eleventh woodcut shows the happy end—an angel ready to receive the expired soul in the shape of a small naked child and lead into God's heavenly splendor.