Woodblock book printing was for many centuries the dominant printing technology in East Asia but it was replaced by mechanised presses during the early 20th century. Surprisingly, in 1973, at the request of the Shanghai municipal government, the Cloudy Studio, a local publishing house, published a fine woodblock edition of The Communist Manifesto in classical Chinese style. Apart from the historical decline of xylography, this was also politically remarkable given that the CCP publicly derided elite xylographic book publishing. In this paper, by investigating the production process of The Manifesto, I will argue that archaism in elite literati book culture continued in woodblock book publishing during the Mao era of 1949-1976. I will analyse how the publishers sought archaistic perfection through design concepts, literati printing materials, ceremonialised production processes and a master-pupil system in the Communist publishing industry through the woodblock printing practice.