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Scholar Spotlight: Drawing with Words

  • Scholar Spotlight: Drawing with Words 1150 18th Street Northwest Washington, DC, 20036 United States (map)

Almost everyone is familiar with the clever little icons known as emoji. Yet, few are aware of their pre-modern Japanese origins—mojie (calligrams).

The relationship between images and text has always played an important role in Japanese visual and textual culture. Calligrams—or the creative arrangements of words and sentences into patterns—are arguably one of the most idiosyncratic examples. Individual characters could be shaped to resemble birds or flowers, while longer texts such as poems and sutras could be fashioned into a vast range of elaborate designs.

Over the centuries, skilled calligraphers, witty writers and ingenious artists experimented with this form of art. Looking at selected examples taken from manuscripts, ukiyo-e prints, and woodblock-printed books, Freer|Sackler researcher Dr. Alessandro Bianchi takes us on a journey to discuss the origin and development of this distinctive form of Japanese textual art.

There will be light refreshments served after the event

Registration is required for this event. Please note this event begins at 6:00PM.Doors will open at 5:30PM and close at 6:30PM.

About the Presenter

Dr. Alessandro Bianchi received a PhD degree from the University of Cambridge with a doctoral thesis concerning eighteenth-century political satire. His area of specialization is early-modern Japanese literature, paleography, and the history of the book in Japan. Dr. Bianchi has served as postdoctoral museum research fellow at the Freer|Sackler since spring 2015, working on the online scholarly catalogue of the Pulverer collection of Japanese illustrated books.

About the Series

The JICC Seasonal Art Lecture Series from Emerging Scholars featuring a quarterly ‘Scholar Spotlight’ focuses on new research into the Fine Arts of Japan from rising scholars in the field of Japanese art. This series provides the public with new ideas and research on a wide variety of disciplines and art objects from the ancient to the contemporary, and encourages audience engagement with the research topics.

You are invited to 

Scholar Spotlight: Drawing with Words

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (EDT)

Japan Information & Culture Center, Embassy of Japan

1150 18th Street Northwest

Suite 100

Washington DC 20036 US