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Woodcut

Introduction

Source: Oxford University Press

Type of relief print and the process by which it is made. The term woodcut is often used loosely for any printmaking technique that employs a wooden block. Strictly speaking, however, the term applies only to cuts made on planks of wood. The precise term for the method that involves cutting the design on the end-grain of the block is Wood-engraving. The term xylography is sometimes used to refer to both processes. This article discusses Western woodcuts, including those coloured free-hand or by stencil or printed from one or more blocks; chiaroscuro woodcuts, which are printed from at least two blocks using dark ink and white highlights on a coloured background, are discussed in a separate entry. For a discussion of woodcuts in other cultures see China, §XIII, 21; Indian subcontinent, §VIII, 2; and Japan, §IX.

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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