Woodcuts are relief prints. The image is printed from the raised surface of the woodblock or what remains after the background has been carved away.
There is a long history of block printing in both the European and Japanese traditions.
The Japanese developed an intricate art form using a multi-block system, rice papers and water base colors. The European prints originated in medieval times and are also very detailed, but more often printed in black and white.
The tradition has continued to modern times.The expressionists used woodcuts to portray stark emotional sentiments.