Soapstone; a soft metamorphic rock composed mostly of the mineral talc. Soapstone is used in China for small figurative sculpture similar to work in jade, and in Byzantium it was used for sculpture similar to work in ivory. In India whole temples with highly ornate carving have been carved of steatite.
A printing technique that involves carving text in relief upon a wooden block. When inked, the impression is transferred to paper. The oldest known printed works were produced by this method in Japan and China during the 8th and 9th centuries. This method of wood-block printing appeared in Europe in the 14th century and eventually inspired Johannes Gutenberg to create type pieces out of metal.