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文字历史:大英图书馆“书写展览”的12件文物
2019年05月21日 新人新作 ⁄ 共 22555字 暂无评论 ⁄ 被围观 133 views+

文字历史:大英图书馆“书写展览”的12件文物 - BBC 英伦网// // // // // //

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玛雅石灰岩石碑 Image copyrightThe Trustees of the British Museum

伦敦大英图书馆(British Library)的一场新展场面极其宏大。“书写:留下你的印记”(Writing: Making Your Mark)通过大约代表40多种书写系统的100件展品,记录了5000年来人类文字书写在全球的演变及其多样化。展览中既有公元前3000年左右刻有楔形文字的美索不达米亚泥板,也有当代容易刪除消失的数字通讯。

为了举办这场展览,大英图书馆充分利用了自己的海量藏品,包括公元前1300年到公元前1050年中国商朝后期刻有早期汉字的甲骨文片,以及有文字的类似历史文物,这是人们根本不会在一般图书馆“藏书”中能看到的书籍形式。除此之外,大英博物馆(British Museum)和伦敦皮特里埃及考古博物馆(Petrie Museum)也贡献出了他们的藏品,比如2.2米高的玛雅石灰岩石碑,此石碑永远不会出现在大英图书馆的藏品中,尽管读者乐意让其竖立在某个阅览室里,这样他们就能用手指触摸石碑上的象形文字。

甲骨文 Image copyrightBritish Library Board
Image caption 在商朝,占卜的环节之一是把需要神灵解答的问题刻在龟甲和骨头上(Credit: British Library Board)

这场意义深远的展览背后有五位策展人,包括大英图书馆的中国藏品策展人、东亚专家哈里森(Emma Harrison)。她告诉BBC文化频道(BBC Culture),文字“一开始是切割、雕刻和压印在铜、石头、蜡和粘土等材料上”,然后是蘸墨手写在纸面上,之后才有机械加工的印刷,再往后是打字和计算机操作。

//
书法 Image copyrightBritish Library Board
Image caption 罕见的圣武天皇和光明皇后书法作品,公元750年(Credit: British Library Board)

从公元5世纪开始,文字从中国传到日本,书法在日本被认为是最高级的艺术形式之一,至今仍是如此。此次展览收录了公元八世纪中期日本圣武天皇(Emperor Shōmu )和光明皇后(Empress Komyo)的书法作品。抄写的都是佛经经文:一幅是《贤愚经》(The Wise and Foolish),另一幅是《妙法莲华经》(Lotus)。圣武天皇和光明皇后都是虔诚的佛教徒,两人晚年分别出家为僧为尼。

《金刚经》 Image copyrightBritish Library Board
Image caption 《金刚经》是世界上现存最早的标有印刷日期的完整印刷本书籍(Credit: British Library Board)

这部《金刚经》(The Diamond Sutra)是在中国敦煌的一个洞穴中发现的,其历史可追溯至公元868年,是全世界最早并标有印刷日期的完整印刷本书籍。《金刚经》使用的是雕版印刷,这是最早出现的印刷术。已知最古老的雕版印刷文本是在韩国发现,可追溯至公元704-751年。佛陀之所以称这部佛经为《金刚经》是因为佛教智慧“像金刚石刀(即钻石刀)能砍断尘世妄执烦恼,达到涅磐境界”。《金刚经》全卷由七部分组成,每一部份都由一块雕版印刷而成,然后粘接成一个长度超过五米(16英尺)的卷册。

玛雅石碑 Image copyrightThe Trustees of the British Museum
Image caption 刻有文字的玛雅石灰岩石碑来自伯利兹,可追溯至公园647年(Credit: The Trustees of the British Museum)

前文中提到的玛雅石碑令人惊叹不已。正如哈里森所说,“我们想展示出全球所有地方独立发展出来的文字书写形式,以彰显人类文字的多样性,其中一个发展出独立书写系统的地方就是中美洲”。石碑的其中一面刻着112个块状浅浮雕象形文字,它们由排列紧密的球状符号,即表意文字(像汉字那样描述事物和概念的图画)加上帮助发音的音节标识组成。石碑是为了颂扬玛雅国王和他们的同伴,就像石质广告牌一样,或者说就如同现在散布在城市各处的公共雕像一样。此次展出的石碑可追溯至公元600年到公元800年,是1929年从伯利兹的普西拉运送到大英博物馆的。石碑上的文字还没有被完全破译(这种情况对玛雅文字来说并不罕见),但我们知道碑上的文字记载和玛雅国王K'ak' Uti' Chan的统治有关,碑文介绍了他的血统、他的崛起和他在位期间的一些重要历史事件,包括战争等。

教皇赎罪券 Image copyrightBritish Library Board
Image caption 古登堡印刷的"教皇赎罪券"被认为是欧洲最早的活字印刷品(Credit: British Library Board)

欧洲第一部完整的印刷书籍是德国印刷商古登堡1455年在德国美因茨使用活字印刷术印刷的《古登堡圣经》(Gutenberg Bible)。古登堡是发明第一部活字印刷机的欧洲人。在此之前,欧洲的书籍都是手抄本。这次展览展出了古登堡为教皇尼古拉斯五世(Pope Nicholas V)印刷的一张教皇赎罪券(Papal Indulgence)。据信,赎罪券的印刷早于《古登堡圣经》。正如哈里森所指出,“赎罪券是为了减少一个人待在炼狱里的时间。赎罪券被当作商品销售,买家到手后再填上个人的详细资料。”因此,赎罪券是我们今天不胜其烦的标准空白表格最早的例子。教会利用出售赎罪券筹集到的资金用于保卫塞浦路斯免受奥斯曼帝国的攻击。

印刷 Image copyrightBritish Library Board
Image caption 卡克斯顿(William Caxton)是第一个印刷英文书的人(Credit: British Library Board)

到1480年,欧洲各地都有了活字印刷机,知识传播因此加快,意义非常重大。1477年前后,卡克斯顿在伦敦用印刷机印刷了乔叟(Chaucer)的《坎特伯雷故事集》(Canterbury Tales),这是在英格兰印刷的第一本主要书籍。卡克斯顿是一位出版商、编辑和翻译,他从欧洲大陆聘请了熟练的工人。书中使用了一套名为卡克斯顿2号(Caxton type 2)的字体,这是他根据最好的弗兰德手稿中的笔迹开发出来的。加大字号的红色首字母是印刷后手工补写的。人们认为这本书一共印刷了大约600册,全世界现存在世的有38册,大部分不完整。大英图书馆收藏的这本是仍保持完整的极少数珍本之一。

南丁格尔 Image copyrightBritish Library Board
Image caption 在克里米亚战争期间护理士兵的南丁格尔坚持工作要很清洁(Credit: British Library Board)

哈里森说,在南丁格尔(Florence Nightingale)的笔记本里,通过她的笔迹“我们在日常生活中看到了非凡之处,我们通过不同的视角认识一个我们已熟知的人。”南丁格尔是一位社会改革家,来自英国一个具有世界眼光的家庭,因为在克里米亚战争(1853- 1856)中颠覆医疗护理传统而成为传奇人物。她被认为是现代护理的奠基人。

护士记录 Image copyrightBritish Library Board
Image caption 南丁格尔还要求她培训的护士写日记,记录他们的日常工作(Credit: British Library Board)

在展出的日记中,南丁格尔记录了她在1877年6月24日到30日这一周的活动和费用。自上世纪80年代以来,随着个人电脑和键盘的稳步崛起,这种做法已经不那么常见了。对于“后千禧一代”和“数字一代”来说,手写日记,包括简单地记账的想法,看上去可能就像甲骨文一样陌生和遥远。

请愿书 Image copyrightBritish Library Board
Image caption 1905年反对第一次孟加拉分割的请愿书,是英国统治印度的历史上前所未有的对政府决策的反抗(Credit: British Library Board)

哈里森说,1905年反对分割孟加拉的请愿书提供了“一个非常重要的机会,让我们能够了解一个历史时刻”。这是一件大型展品,有60000多个签名。当时英国殖民政府提议按照宗教将孟加拉一分为二,东边是穆斯林为主的东孟加拉,西边是印度教徒为主的西孟加拉。“分而治之”政策不顾反对而实行,但引发了强烈的愤怒和严重的动荡,以致英国政府不得不在1911年取消该政策。签名有用英语的,也有用孟加拉语的,无论哪种语言和文字,只要是视签名者最习惯使用的即可。这份请愿书也是签名的政治和象征性力量的一个例子。在计算机管理、人脸识别和生物统计的时代,书面签名作为一种深刻的个人身份表达这一角色正在消失。

打字机 Image copyrightBritish Library Board
Image caption “双鸽牌”打字机没有键盘:用户选择一个字,按控制杆上墨打字,然后再将控制杆复位(Credit: British Library Board)

在100多件展品中,哈里森最喜欢的是中国的“双鸽”打字机。(双鸽是品牌名,大英图书馆收藏的这台打字机生产于1975年的中国上海)这是一台令人惊叹的设备,有着迷人的历史。由于中文是一种象形文字,文字直接表示事物和概念,实现基本的读写能力至少需要掌握2000个汉字,将其作为文学语言至少需要掌握6000个汉字。汉字的总数有5万多个。整个罗马字母表和大部分常见符号都能轻松地放进西方的标准键盘,但一台可用的中文打字机却需要操作数千个汉字。正如哈里森所指出的,双鸽总结了“近一个世纪的尝试,以及试图将中文书写系统精简升级成打字机形式这一特殊问题的不同解决方法"。这台打字机有一个字盘,上面有2418个根据结构相似性和使用频率排列的活动铅字。如果这还不够,打字机还有两个备用字盒,每个字盒有1716个字。每分钟20字的打字速度被认为还不错。

街头艺术家锡德 Image copyrightTony Antoniou
Image caption 法国籍突尼斯街头艺术家锡德(eL Seed)受黎巴嫩诗人纪伯伦(Kahlil Gibran)的墓碑铭文“我像你一样活着”启发,创作了一件作品(Credit: Tony Antoniou)

未来会给文字书写带来什么?设计教授克莱顿(Ewan Clayton)在随展览一同出版的书中写道,“500年前的欧洲,活字印刷的使用提供了不同的机会,被如饥似渴的读者抓住……(导致)欧洲国家的很多人对自我的理解发生改变。不可否认的是,今天我们正在经历文字世界的另一场巨变。”

乌鲁克泥板文书 Image copyrightThe Trustees of the British Museum
Image caption 许多语言的字母据信都来自古埃及和两河流域的文字,如这块乌鲁克泥板文书(Credit: The Trustees of the British Museum)

数字化的加强是不可避免的,但手写文字似乎不太可能在短期内消失。至于哈里森,她自称乐于“结合使用不同的技术。我既不是技术迷,也不是传统派。我介于两者之间”。一种肯定还没有失去力量,尤其是其政治力量的文字是涂鸦,其中一个例子是政治激进派、法国籍的突尼斯街头艺术家锡德为此次展览创作的一幅涂鸦作品,将传统阿拉伯美的概念和书写艺术形式与涂鸦和街头艺术相结合。作品引用了黎巴嫩诗人纪伯伦的墓志铭:“我像你一样活着。”尽管大英图书馆的读者可能会把大部分时间花在处理印刷和数字文稿上,但这种古老的书写艺术似乎依然存在,并且势头良好。

“书写:留下你的印记”正在大英图书馆展出,展览将持续至2019年8月27日。

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