19 September 2006

Visual Reference


I'm now calling the Iraq print the "Babylon print" because I'm interested in the ancient cultures from the area between the Tigris and the Euphrates and the ancient city of Babylon was just 50 miles south of Baghdad. I wanted to find visual motifs spanning the many thousands of years of cultures that have occupied the area and the items above are the patterns I think I'll be using in this print.

Cuneiform is the earliest form of writing known, invented by the Sumerians of Mesopotamia who wrote on clay tablets using long reeds. It was originally a picture language (like Chinese characters) but when the Semites (Assyrians and Babylonians) who later came into the area adopted it, they changed it into a syllabic alphabet. Also used on clay tablets were cylinder seals, which were rolled into the clay to create relief designs. (Perfect for a woodcut.) I also want to include a more "modern" Islamic motif in this print, and I like this mosaic pattern.

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