Woodcut means wood engraving. It is an ancient technique, of Chinese origin, in which the artisan uses a piece of wood to carve a design, leaving the part that he intends to make the reproduction in relief. Then he uses paint to paint the raised part of the design. In the final stage, a type of press is used to exert pressure and develop the image on paper or other support. An important detail is that the design comes out contrary to what was cut, which requires more work from the artisan.
There are two types of woodcut: wire woodcut and top woodcut that are distinguished by the way the tree is cut. In wire woodcuts (also known as veined wood or lying wood) the tree is cut in the direction of growth, longitudinal; in the top woodcut (or standing wood) the tree is cut across the trunk.
Woodcutting is very popular in the Northeast region of Brazil, where the most popular Brazilian woodcuters (or woodcuters) are. Woodcuts were often used to illustrate string literature texts. Some cordelistas were also woodcutters, such as the Pernambuco native J. Borges (José Francisco Borges).
Woodcuts have also been engraved on tile pieces, reproducing smaller drawings. This is one of the techniques that the Pernambuco artisan Severino Borges has used in his work.