By Denise Schmandt-Besserat
Denise Schmandt-Besserat opened an incredible new bankruptcy within the historical past of literacy whilst she confirmed that the cuneiform script invented within the historic close to East within the past due fourth millennium BC—the world's oldest identified method of writing—derived from an archaic counting equipment. Her discovery, which she released in Before Writing: From Counting to Cuneiform and How Writing got here About, was once generally said in specialist journals and the preferred press. In 1999, American Scientist selected How Writing got here About as one of many "100 or so Books that formed a Century of Science."
In When Writing Met Art, Schmandt-Besserat expands her heritage of writing into the visible realm of verbal exchange. utilizing examples of old close to japanese writing and masterpieces of artwork, she indicates that among 3500 and 3000 BC the conventions of writing—everything from its linear association to its semantic use of the shape, measurement, order, and site of signs—spread to the making of artwork, leading to artistic endeavors that offered complicated visible narratives instead of the repetitive motifs stumbled on on preliterate artwork items. Schmandt-Besserat then demonstrates art's reciprocal effect at the improvement of writing. She exhibits how, starting in 2700-2600 BC, the inclusion of inscriptions on funerary and votive paintings items emancipated writing from its unique accounting functionality. to satisfy its new position, writing advanced to duplicate speech; this in flip made it attainable to collect, arrange, and synthesize limitless quantities of knowledge; and to maintain and disseminate info throughout time and space.
Schmandt-Besserat's pioneering research of the interface among writing and paintings files a key turning aspect in human heritage, while of our such a lot primary info media reciprocally accelerated their capacities to speak. while writing met artwork, literate civilization was once born.