Press Release

Friends of the Library in the News

Woodblock Talismans Lecture, Film, Reception

Friends of the Library is pleased to announce a lecture, film and meet and greet reception for the current exhibit of “Dressing the Dead” in the community room of the Fernandina Beach Library on November 2, “All Souls Day” from 4 – 7 pm. The items on display are from the personal collection of James Kemp of Fernandina Beach.

Professor James Kemp will explain how his printed Vietnamese talismans are employed in traditional Asian burials.

Mr. Kemp first encountered the artwork of talismans when he was sent to Vietnam in 1967 with the US Navy at 20 years old. He returned and earned a BA degree in 1973 in Asian Studies from Florida State University. He began collecting talismans and woodblocks in 1973 when he returned to Taiwan to study from 1973-77. He now has over 700 talismans, which include Sanskrit and Chinese characters as well as Buddhist and Taoist elements.

Talismans in this exhibit are images carved into pieces of wood and then inked and pressed onto cloth or paper. These images are thought to be magical and can bring good luck in the afterlife to those who have died. Because the woodblock prints in the collection are used for burial ceremonies, many have never been seen before.

This program will include a screening of the film “A Month of Hungry Ghosts” and will be followed by a reception to meet the collector from 6-7 pm. The program is free and open to the public.

For further information regarding this exhibit call the library at 904-530-6500, Extension 1.

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