Barcelona Cultura
  • Writing. Symbols, words, powers

    12 June 2015 - 31 January 2016
    12 Jun 2015 - 31 Jan 2016

Can we imagine our contemporary societies without writing? What differentiates the graphology of a complete writing? Do we identify ourselves with our writing? What are the secrets of deciphering the ancient writings?

The first temporary exhibition of the Museum of World Cultures will show us how writing, developed originally as an instrument for conserving and spreading the word, has become a symbolic reference of the culture to which it belongs evoking identitary and collective keys.

The exhibition shows an extensive route through the cultures of the world in order to present the varieties, uses and multiple developments of this means of communication without which it would be impossible to undertake our daily lives.

Through the ten different settings and from several museum supports, we can see how these writings have had specific geneses and evolutions in the different peoples of the planet, in accordance with the languages and cultures for which they were created, until the present time.

Mayan vase. Guatemala. 600-900 BC. 1991/11/08 Museo de América.

Taherud mortuary stele. Egypt. Late Period. 26th Dynasty (664-525 BC). E 727 Fundació Arqueològica Clos / Museu Egipci de Barcelona

Muraqqa: Album of Persian and Indian miniatures. Beginning of the 18th century. E14, fol. 53. 9400 Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Russian Academy of Sciences

The exhibits come from the collections of Barcelona City Council as well as other national and international loans: Arxiu de la Corona d’Aragó, Arxiu Històric de la Ciutat de Barcelona, Biblioteca d’Humanitats de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Centre Cultural Euskal Etxea Barcelona, CRAI Biblioteca de Lletres de la Universitat de Barcelona, CRAI Biblioteca de Reserva de la Universitat de Barcelona, Fundació Arqueològica Clos/Museu Egipci de Barcelona, Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences de Sant Petesburg, The Israel Museum, Museo de América, Madrid, Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya, Museu d'Arqueologia d’Eivissa i Formentera, Museu de la Colònia Vidal de Puig-reig, Museu Episcopal de Vic, Museu d’Història de Barcelona, Museu de Montserrat, National Centre of Manuscripts, Tbilisi (Georgia), and some private collections.

Likewise, the development process to create the content for Writing. Symbols, words, Powers has been made possible thanks to the contributions of specialists who have carried out studies for the catalogue and assessments on the pieces: Françoise Briquel Chatonnet, Laboratoire Orient et Mediterranée associate to the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Peter T. Daniels, specialist in writing systems and co-editor of The World's Writing Systems, Miguel Peyró, Universidad de Sevilla and Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research, Duncan Poupard, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Francisco del Río, Universitat de Barcelona, and Joaquín Sanmartín, Interuniversity Institute of Ancient Near Eastern Studies of Universitat de Barcelona.



At the hall


The Naxi and the Dongba script in the Museum of World Cultures

Small-format exhibition about the Dongba script of the Naxi people, who live in the mountains of southwestern China’s Yunnan province. Free exhibition in the museum lobby.