Another spin-off from Ephesus. This guy, Ts’ang Chieh (aka Cangjie) was one of the characters populating the old library. Turns out he’s the legendary inventor of Chinese writing. As I explored further, I realized that many cultures have some god who is credited with bringing writing to his people. Wouldn’t this make a great tablet?
Many gods are associated with wisdom and knowledge, but one website listed gods specifically connected to writing. Here’s the ones I found most interesting:
2. Brahma (Hindu) - supreme god of the East Indian trinity; brought knowledge of letters to human race.
4. Cadmus (Greece) – brought alphabet to Greece
5. Cangjie/Ts’ang Chieh (China) – Invented Chinese alphabet/characters
8. Hermes (Greek)/Mercury (Roman) – Inventor of the written alphabet, god of writing/literature, speech, travelers, treaties, dreams
10. Itzamn/Itzamna (Maya) – invented writing & the calendar.
13. Nabu (Babylonian) – god of wisdom & writing
15. Odin (Norse) - god of wisdom, poetry. Inventor of Norse alphabet
16. Ogma/Oghma (Celtic/Irish) – god of knowledge, eloquence & poetry
18. Quetzalcoatl (Aztec) - serpent god; founder of Aztec culture; patron of priests, the inventor of the calendar and of books
20. Saraswati – (Hindu) – inventor of Sanskrit; goddess of creativity, wisdom, 21. Sequoyah (Native American) - invented alphabet for the Cherokee and taught his people to read. First with pictographs and symbols adapted from English,
26. Tahmurath (Persian) – demons taught him the art of writing in 30 different languages in return for sparing their lives
28. Thoth (Egypt) – Inventor of hieroglyphics
Then I started collecting images:
Do you notice anything odd? Apparently, I’m not the first one with this idea. Lee Lawrie used the same concept to sculpt the bronze doors on the John Adams Building of the Library of Congress in Washington.
It looks like he sculpted 18 of them, but the first and third doors are identical. So, 12 gods. I found all of them:
The original doors are still there, but they are left permanently open. The sculptures were cast in glass for new useable doors that met current codes. I have no idea why, but the only image I could find for Brahma was the cast glass version.
Looking closely at this grouping, I’m struck by the homogenization of the figures. The sameness goes beyond the three-quarter stance. I think Lawrie ‘Disney-fied’ them: they’re all ready to appear in an animated film.
So I went searching…..
Brahma appears as a three-faced woman, as bearded men, and many other versions. I used the one on the right.
Nabu also has several alternate identities, but I really like this one with the cuneiform writing right across the front. By the way, the circle and stick being held by the figure on the far right is a measuring tape and a measuring rod. Strangely enough, Lawrie’s version looks more like Nabu’s father, Maluk:
I did use Maluk’s arms on my version.
A composite figure for Itzamna…
This does seem to be the only available image for Cangjie. I added an arm and moved his eyes a but further apart (it was almost impossible to sew them so close together on the Ephesus Tablet).
I didn’t change much for Thoth.
Not a lot of great options for Ogma (hmmm: I can quickly search through everything online. What did Lawrie do to find images? It must have been a nightmare). I cleaned up a carved image and took a line of Ogham markings from the cartoon-guy.
Quetzacoatl - another one with almost too many image choices. I simplified an image from an old codex.