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Sign and Design

Sign and Design

Script as Image in Cross-Cultural Perspective (300–1600 CE)

Edited by Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak and Jeffrey F. Hamburger

ISBN 9780884024071

Publication date: 08/22/2016

From antiquity to the modern age, legal, documentary, exegetical, literary, and linguistic traditions have viewed the relationship between image and letter in diverse ways. There is a long history of scholarship examining this relationship, probing the manner and meaning of its dynamics in terms of equivalency, complementarity, and polarity.

This volume addresses the pictorial dimension of writing systems from cross-cultural and multidisciplinary perspectives. Historians—including specialists in art and literature—paleographers, and anthropologists consider imagistic scripts of the ancient and medieval Near East, Europe, Byzantium, and Latin America, and within Jewish, polytheistic, Christian, and Muslim cultures. They engage with pictographic, ideographic, and logographic writing systems, as well as with alphabetic scripts, examining diverse examples of cross-pollination between language and art.


  • Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak is Professor of History at New York University.
  • Jeffrey F. Hamburger is Kuno Francke Professor of German Art and Culture in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University.

Book Details

  • 304 pages
  • 8-1/2 x 11 inches
  • Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection