I saw a show of fairly typical Himalayan mountain crafts today, and they didn’t really move me in any way, they were nice, and there was something to be said against aesthiciasing functional objects, but nothing that hasn’t been said before. What wasn’t talked about was three Nepalese prayer blocks stuffed in a far back corner on the second floor, against other noise and bumption. It was as if the curators intended for those objects to be overlooked.
The blocks were used to imprint prayers on flags, wheels and other meditative objects, and when the prayer block had been worn to the point of illegibility the monks commission an often illiterate carver to make the next set, using the last as an example. So eventually, the explicit words related to explicit practice becomes abstract words (glyphs) related to abstract practice–and this moving away from concreteness is viewed as something that happens to our words (and our selves ?)