The Era of Writing

The invention of writing is one of humanity’s biggest intellectual ventures. The idea of transcribing language into signs emerged in various places across the globe, not just for one utilitarian need, but for transmitting the common values of a society.

-Cylindre en laiton gravé à la main et impression sur porcelaine

Hand-engraved brass cylinder and printing on porcelain

The cylinder seal appeared in Mesopotamia during the Uruk period (4100-3300 BC). This object, which had an economic or divinatory purpose and was covered in symbols denoting its owner, served as a signature. A predecessor of printing, it was rolled out on a clay tablet. Gérard Desquand, a heraldic engraving master craftsman, reinterprets this early object which contributed to the birth of writing. Through this engraving technique, and the age-old process of printing on clay, he tells us in an aesthetic and quasi-historical way about the birth of letters from symbols and ideograms. We are told here about the “era of writing” or the universal history of writing, an adventure that is 6,000 years old and part of humanity’s memory.