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SECTION III
EVERYDAY LIFE, CULTURE AND POLITICS
2024-25
Page 2


SECTION III
EVERYDAY LIFE, CULTURE AND POLITICS
2024-25 2024-25
Page 3


SECTION III
EVERYDAY LIFE, CULTURE AND POLITICS
2024-25 2024-25
105
Print   Culture
It is difficult for us to imagine a world without printed matter. We
find evidence of print everywhere around us – in books, journals,
newspapers,  prints of famous paintings, and also in everyday things
like theatre programmes, official circulars, calendars, diaries,
advertisements, cinema posters at street corners. We read printed
literature, see printed images, follow the news through newspapers,
and track public debates that appear in print. We take for granted
this world of print and often forget that there was a time before
print. W e may not realise that print itself has a history which has, in
fact, shaped our contemporary world. What is this history? When
did printed literature begin to circulate? How has it helped create
the modern world?
In this chapter we will look at the development of print, from its
beginnings in East Asia to its expansion in Europe and in India. W e
will understand the impact of the spread of technology and consider
how social lives and cultures changed with the coming of print.
Print  Culture  and  the  Modern  World
Chapter V
Print Culture and the Modern World
Fig. 1 – Book making before the age of print, from
Akhlaq-i-Nasiri, 1595.
This is a royal workshop in the sixteenth century,
much before printing began in India. You can see
the text being dictated, written and illustrated. The
art of writing and illustrating by hand was
important in the age before print. Think about
what happened to these forms of art with the
coming of printing machines.
2024-25
Page 4


SECTION III
EVERYDAY LIFE, CULTURE AND POLITICS
2024-25 2024-25
105
Print   Culture
It is difficult for us to imagine a world without printed matter. We
find evidence of print everywhere around us – in books, journals,
newspapers,  prints of famous paintings, and also in everyday things
like theatre programmes, official circulars, calendars, diaries,
advertisements, cinema posters at street corners. We read printed
literature, see printed images, follow the news through newspapers,
and track public debates that appear in print. We take for granted
this world of print and often forget that there was a time before
print. W e may not realise that print itself has a history which has, in
fact, shaped our contemporary world. What is this history? When
did printed literature begin to circulate? How has it helped create
the modern world?
In this chapter we will look at the development of print, from its
beginnings in East Asia to its expansion in Europe and in India. W e
will understand the impact of the spread of technology and consider
how social lives and cultures changed with the coming of print.
Print  Culture  and  the  Modern  World
Chapter V
Print Culture and the Modern World
Fig. 1 – Book making before the age of print, from
Akhlaq-i-Nasiri, 1595.
This is a royal workshop in the sixteenth century,
much before printing began in India. You can see
the text being dictated, written and illustrated. The
art of writing and illustrating by hand was
important in the age before print. Think about
what happened to these forms of art with the
coming of printing machines.
2024-25
India and the Contemporary World
106
1  The First Printed Books
Fig. 2 a – A page from the Diamond Sutra.
The earliest kind of print technology was developed in China, Japan
and Korea. This was a system of hand printing. From AD 594
onwards, books in China were printed by rubbing paper – also
invented there – against the inked surface of woodblocks. As both
sides of the thin, porous sheet could not be printed, the traditional
Chinese ‘accordion book’ was folded and stitched at the side.
Superbly skilled craftsmen could duplicate, with remarkable accuracy ,
the beauty of calligraphy .
The imperial state in China was, for a very long time, the major
producer of printed material. China possessed a huge bureaucratic
system which recruited its personnel through civil service
examinations. Textbooks for this examination were printed in vast
numbers under the sponsorship of the imperial state.  From the
sixteenth century, the number of examination candidates went up
and that increased the volume of print.
By the seventeenth century , as urban culture bloomed in China, the
uses of print diversified. Print was no longer used just by scholar-
officials. Merchants used print in their everyday life, as they collected
trade information. Reading increasingly became a leisure activity.
The new readership preferred fictional narratives, poetry,
autobiographies, anthologies of literary masterpieces, and romantic
plays. Rich women began to read, and many women began
publishing their poetry and plays. Wives of scholar-officials published
their works and courtesans wrote about their lives.
This new reading culture was accompanied by a new technology.
Western printing techniques and mechanical presses were imported
in the late nineteenth century as Western powers established their
outposts in China. Shanghai became the hub of the new print culture,
catering to the W estern-style schools. From hand printing there was
now a gradual shift to mechanical printing.
1.1 Print in Japan
Buddhist missionaries from China introduced hand-printing
technology into Japan around AD 768-770. The oldest Japanese book,
printed in AD 868, is the Buddhist Diamond Sutra, containing six sheets
of text and woodcut illustrations. Pictures were printed on textiles,
New words
Calligraphy – The art of beautiful and stylised
writing
2024-25
Page 5


SECTION III
EVERYDAY LIFE, CULTURE AND POLITICS
2024-25 2024-25
105
Print   Culture
It is difficult for us to imagine a world without printed matter. We
find evidence of print everywhere around us – in books, journals,
newspapers,  prints of famous paintings, and also in everyday things
like theatre programmes, official circulars, calendars, diaries,
advertisements, cinema posters at street corners. We read printed
literature, see printed images, follow the news through newspapers,
and track public debates that appear in print. We take for granted
this world of print and often forget that there was a time before
print. W e may not realise that print itself has a history which has, in
fact, shaped our contemporary world. What is this history? When
did printed literature begin to circulate? How has it helped create
the modern world?
In this chapter we will look at the development of print, from its
beginnings in East Asia to its expansion in Europe and in India. W e
will understand the impact of the spread of technology and consider
how social lives and cultures changed with the coming of print.
Print  Culture  and  the  Modern  World
Chapter V
Print Culture and the Modern World
Fig. 1 – Book making before the age of print, from
Akhlaq-i-Nasiri, 1595.
This is a royal workshop in the sixteenth century,
much before printing began in India. You can see
the text being dictated, written and illustrated. The
art of writing and illustrating by hand was
important in the age before print. Think about
what happened to these forms of art with the
coming of printing machines.
2024-25
India and the Contemporary World
106
1  The First Printed Books
Fig. 2 a – A page from the Diamond Sutra.
The earliest kind of print technology was developed in China, Japan
and Korea. This was a system of hand printing. From AD 594
onwards, books in China were printed by rubbing paper – also
invented there – against the inked surface of woodblocks. As both
sides of the thin, porous sheet could not be printed, the traditional
Chinese ‘accordion book’ was folded and stitched at the side.
Superbly skilled craftsmen could duplicate, with remarkable accuracy ,
the beauty of calligraphy .
The imperial state in China was, for a very long time, the major
producer of printed material. China possessed a huge bureaucratic
system which recruited its personnel through civil service
examinations. Textbooks for this examination were printed in vast
numbers under the sponsorship of the imperial state.  From the
sixteenth century, the number of examination candidates went up
and that increased the volume of print.
By the seventeenth century , as urban culture bloomed in China, the
uses of print diversified. Print was no longer used just by scholar-
officials. Merchants used print in their everyday life, as they collected
trade information. Reading increasingly became a leisure activity.
The new readership preferred fictional narratives, poetry,
autobiographies, anthologies of literary masterpieces, and romantic
plays. Rich women began to read, and many women began
publishing their poetry and plays. Wives of scholar-officials published
their works and courtesans wrote about their lives.
This new reading culture was accompanied by a new technology.
Western printing techniques and mechanical presses were imported
in the late nineteenth century as Western powers established their
outposts in China. Shanghai became the hub of the new print culture,
catering to the W estern-style schools. From hand printing there was
now a gradual shift to mechanical printing.
1.1 Print in Japan
Buddhist missionaries from China introduced hand-printing
technology into Japan around AD 768-770. The oldest Japanese book,
printed in AD 868, is the Buddhist Diamond Sutra, containing six sheets
of text and woodcut illustrations. Pictures were printed on textiles,
New words
Calligraphy – The art of beautiful and stylised
writing
2024-25
107
Print   Culture
playing cards and paper money. In
medieval Japan, poets and prose
writers were regularly published,
and books were cheap and abundant.
Printing of visual material led to
interesting publishing practices. In
the late eighteenth century, in the
flourishing urban circles at Edo
(later to be known as Tokyo),
illustrated collections of paintings
depicted an elegant urban culture, involving artists, courtesans,
and teahouse gatherings. Libraries and bookstores were packed
with hand-printed material of various types – books on women,
musical instruments, calculations, tea ceremony, flower
arrangements, proper etiquette, cooking and famous places.
Box 1
Kitagawa Utamaro, born in Edo in 1753, was widely known for
his contributions to an art form called ukiyo (‘pictures of the floating
world’) or depiction of ordinary human experiences, especially urban
ones. These prints travelled to contemporary US and Europe and
influenced artists like Manet, Monet and Van Gogh. Publishers like
Tsutaya Juzaburo identified subjects and commissioned artists who
drew the theme in outline. Then a skilled woodblock carver pasted
the drawing on a woodblock and carved a printing block to
reproduce the painter’s lines. In the process, the original drawing
would be destroyed and only prints would survive.
Fig. 3 – An ukiyo
print by Kitagawa
Utamaro.
Belonging to the mid-13th
century, printing woodblocks of
the Tripitaka Koreana are a Korean
collection of Buddhist scriptures.
They were engraved on about
80,000 woodblocks. They were
inscribed on the UNESCO Memory
of the World Register in 2007.
Source: http://www.cha.go.kr
Fig. 2b – Tripitaka Koreana
Fig. 4a – A morning scene,
ukiyo print by Shunman
Kubo, late eighteenth
century.
A man looks out of the
window at the snowfall while
women prepare tea and
perform other domestic
duties.
2024-25
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FAQs on NCERT Textbook: Print Culture & the Modern World - Social Studies (SST) Class 10

1. What is print culture and how did it impact the modern world?
Ans. Print culture refers to the practices and beliefs surrounding the use of print media, such as books, newspapers, and magazines, in a society. It had a profound impact on the modern world by facilitating the spread of knowledge, ideas, and information on a large scale. It played a crucial role in the dissemination of scientific, political, and social thought, leading to the Enlightenment and the rise of modern nation-states.
2. How did print culture contribute to the growth of nationalism?
Ans. Print culture played a significant role in the growth of nationalism by fostering a sense of collective identity among people sharing a common language or culture. Nationalist movements utilized print media to spread their ideologies, mobilize support, and create a shared national consciousness. Newspapers, books, and pamphlets became powerful tools for disseminating nationalist ideas and uniting people towards a common cause.
3. What were the challenges faced by print culture in its early stages?
Ans. In its early stages, print culture faced several challenges. One major challenge was the high cost of printing and the limited availability of printing presses, which restricted access to printed materials. Illiteracy was another obstacle, as a large portion of the population was unable to read. Additionally, censorship and control by authorities posed a threat to the freedom of expression and publication.
4. How did the printing press revolutionize the spread of information and ideas?
Ans. The printing press revolutionized the spread of information and ideas by enabling the mass production of books and other printed materials. It significantly reduced the time and effort required to produce copies, making books more affordable and accessible to a wider audience. This led to the democratization of knowledge, as people from different socio-economic backgrounds could now access and learn from printed materials, fostering intellectual and cultural advancements.
5. What role did print culture play in shaping the Renaissance and Reformation movements?
Ans. Print culture played a pivotal role in shaping the Renaissance and Reformation movements. The printing press facilitated the dissemination of classical texts, scientific discoveries, and religious ideas, fueling intellectual and cultural transformations. It allowed scholars and reformers to share their ideas more widely, challenging traditional beliefs and practices. The availability of printed Bibles, for example, enabled individuals to interpret religious texts themselves, leading to the emergence of various Protestant denominations.
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