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A: 명동, 서울특별시, South Korea

A Bronze Type Font of 100,000 Pieces and Later 200,000 Pieces


T'ANG LIU: SIEN SHENG TSI; COLLECTED WORKS, VOL. 14; Schøyen Collection 2923.





In Korea a set of 100,000 copper types were cast by command of the king in 1403. Roughly thirty years later, in 1434 the king of Korea ordered the Publications Office to cast a new and improved bronze font of 200,000 pieces of type named Kabin-Ja (Kabinja). These were used for printing "many books" in Korea until 1544.

"This momentous event in Korean typographical history is recorded in the Yi Dynasty Annals and in the Third Foreword to the Yoktae janggam bakui of 1437. These accounts state the that the king, regretting that the type in use, though beautiful, was difficult to read because of the small size of the characters, suggested that a new font be cast from written characters of a larger size. Within two months more than 200,000 were cast, so clear and exact that it was possible to print more than forty sheets per day" (Schøyen Collection 21. Pre-Gutenberg Printing MS 2923).

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