In woodblock printing , a relief image of an entire page was carved into blocks of wood, inked, and used to print copies of that page. This method originated in China, in the Han dynasty (before 220 AD), as a method of printing on textiles and later paper , and was widely used throughout East Asia . The oldest dated book printed by this method is The Diamond Sutra (868 AD).The method (called Woodcut when used in art) arrived in Europe in the early 14th century. Books (known as block-books ), as well as playing-cards and religious pictures , began to be produced by this method. Creating an entire book was a painstaking process, requiring a hand-carved block for each page; and the wood blocks tended to crack, if stored for long. The monks or people who wrote them were paid highly.