M.C. Escher’s Impossible Chinese Character

I’m always on the lookout for interesting Chinese fonts and uses of Chinese characters, so the characters in this poster for an M.C Escher exhibition really stood out.

M.C Escher was an artist famous for incorporating optical illusions into his artwork. If you’re not familiar with his work Google has a convenient gallery where you can view it:

M.C Escher artwork

In the exhibition poster the characters for Escher’s name, 艾雪 (ài xuě), incorporate a bird, which is a symbol seen in lots of his artwork, and also his initials. My favourite character, though, is 界, from 世界 (shìjiè), which shows an impossible cube. The impossible cube illusion has replaced the radical 田 (tián), which means ‘field’, creating the ‘impossible Chinese character’.

M.C. Escher Exhibition Logo

The impossible cube is an invention of M.C Escher’s which can be seen in his piece Belvedere, where it is held by a boy:

The Impossible Cube seen in Belvedere

More interesting examples of Chinese characters can be seen in the Chinese Typography section.

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