Episode 1 introduces the archaic script of oracle bones. It also highlighted the similarities in the methods used by ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, Mayan and Chinese scripts to convey both sounds and meaning. Shots of an oriental calligrapher illustrated the effortless flow of black ink on white paper.
Episode 2 includes oriental paper making, and its gradual transmission to the west.
Xu Bing is of course well known for his other explorations of writing : the Book from the Sky – a tour de force of woodblock printing of unreal characters – Landscript, and Square Word calligraphy.
“Twenty years ago I made Book from the Sky, a book of illegible Chinese characters that no one could read. Now I have created Book from the Ground, a book that anyone can read.”—Xu Bing