The Oldest Printed Book in Existence

Traditionally, there have been two main printing techniques in Asia: woodblock printing and moveable type printing. Woodblock printing technique was developed during Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) in China. While movable Type Printing was invented by Bi Sheng (990–1051) around 1040 AD during the Northern Song dynasty. [Wikipedia]

Currently extant woodblock printed book is “The Great Dharani Sutra of Immaculate and Pure Light” or Pure Light Dharani Sutra", which was published in 751 AD Korea, although earlier specimen of woodblock printing have been discovered in China.

Another woodblock printed book in existence is the the Diamond Sutra, dated 868. It was discovered in the Thousand Buddhas Cave in the walled city of Dunhuang on the Silk Road connecting China with Central Asia and the Western world. It is currently on display in the British Museum.

The Movable Type Printing continued to evolve, and Movable Metal Type Printing was invented in the 13th century Korea. The oldest extant metal type printing is ‘Jikji’ which was published in 1377 in Korea and is currently kept in France National Library.[Jikji]

Printing technologies were introduced from East Asia into Europe. Gutenberg first used metal movable type in Europe in about 1455, when Gutenberg's 42 line Bible was in print.