Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Sunday, May 3, 2009

the World Digital Library

The pleasures of the new World Digital Library are many and immensely varied. Check out this picture: “Indian Demons Attacking Fort Defended by European Troops.” This unsigned watercolor by an unknown Indian artist depicts the events of the Third Mysore War (1790-92).


Or how about this, from a section called “Romance and Love-Related Ceremonies”:


“The Naxi language spoken by the Naxi people of Yunnan Province, China, is the only pictographic writing system in the world still in use. A member of the Tibetan-Burman language family, Naxi has many of the tonal and symbolic aspects of Chinese. The Naxi language has four tones; each sound complex has many different meanings based on its tone. The Naxi Dongba script is used exclusively by the dongba (shamans/priests) as an aid to the recitation of ritual texts during religious ceremonies and shamanistic rituals.” This particular set of images dates from . . . um, sometime between the 16th century and 1934.


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