These pearwood blocks of movable type—here set within a gridded frame—are among the hundreds hand-carved by Xu to print the various scrolls and books for one of his most compelling works: Book from the Sky. The typeface, based on Ming dynasty (1368–1644) interpretations of a Song dynasty (960–1279) printing style (songti), is made up of squared lines with angular accents that make the carving of the characters more efficient. However, in spite of their authentic appearance, all of these characters are Xu’s inventions and they have no meaning.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China," December 9, 2013–April 6, 2014.