Regardless of how globalized our world might seem, languages and written words continue to refer to particular cultural locations. If we are unable to read them, however, written words and scripts present a purely visual encounter. Traces of Words explores the cultural significance and artistic representations of Asian words and writing by focusing on its visual and material presence. Writing, especially calligraphy, has been referred to as an aesthetic form, and has played an important social and political role in diverse Asian traditions ranging from Buddhist text in Pali to Islamic and Chinese calligraphy. This tradition of scripting continues to have an impact on contemporary artist as well. Words, whether spoken, written, imagined or visualized leave traces unique to human life. Essays from five experts and illustrations of ancient and contemporary works invite us to explore this theme in Traces of Words.