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The Art of Writing and Calligraphy

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Social Studies +4 Age Levels Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), Post-Secondary, Adults, Primary (5 to 8 years old)
This collection includes a variety of resources representing styles of writing from around the world. It encourages viewers to consider writing not only for its ability to communicate through letters and symbols, but also for its artistic value. The collection includes a video on Sumerian writing, a website on African writing systems and art, and artifacts that are examples of the writing of East Asian, Arabic, Cherokee, Hebrew, and Modern European alphabets. In addition, a few tools used for writing are included. There is some background material on each type of writing as you read through the collection.

Questions for classroom discussion and research might include:
-What is the purpose of writing? Why use hand-writing or calligraphy instead of using a computer?
-How do alphabets differ?
-How can a style of calligraphy (or font change) the interpretation of a written work?

Inscribing Meaning: Writing and Graphic Systems in African Art

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

Calligraphy

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Writing brush

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Seal

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Seals

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Noh play, The 8th Sankei Kanze Noh

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Imperial Anthology, Kokinshu

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Calligraphy at Kinkaku-Ji Temple? n.d

National Anthropological Archives

Suzuribako (writing box)

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Samira's Story

National Museum of African Art

Tile

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Koranic writing board

National Museum of African Art

Turkish Calligraphic Symbol

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Calligraphy of Cyrillic Alphabet

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Matchsafe

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Why not learn to write?

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Cherokee alphabet invented by Sequoyah

National Anthropological Archives

M&Co: Five World Alphabets

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum