The artistic craft of wood blocking for printing text, images, and patterns was used widely throughout East Asia and originated in China as a method of printing on textiles and later paper. The earliest surviving examples come from China and date to before 220 AD. This artform soon spread throughout China, into Japan, further out into Europe, and into India, before reaching the rest of the world. The technique seems simple, but deceptively so: The wood block is carefully prepared as a relief pattern, which means the areas that should not transfer are cut away with tools, while the image left at surface level will receive ink and transfer to the textile or paper. Ink is then spread over the wood block, and the image is transferred but as a mirror image. The artisan must always think several steps ahead when creating these intricate designs.