Originally Posted by John Isbell
I believe East Asian calligraphy didn't experiment with formatting in the same way.
In South Asia there is the tradition of chitra kavya and in Chinese there is reversible poetry. About the latter I will share my Facebook post from April 2017:
"A fun discovery. I have been reading about Chinese reversible picture poems ["huiwen shi"]. The most influential of these is Su Hui's "Map of the Armillary," which she wrote and then weaved into a brocade to mail to her exiled husband. The poem consists of 840 characters placed in a circle, so that the lines can be read in whatever order the reader pleases—only her lover knew the correct way. The form results in thousands of possible readings, with one Sinologist claiming to have discovered at least 14000 such paths.
I became convinced that Borges must have known about huiwen shi when he wrote "The Garden of Forking Paths," despite the fact that almost all the major anthologies of Chinese reversible poetry were published only in the latter half of the twentieth century. That short story details an author who obsesses over the idea of an infinite book whose plot lines can be read inexhaustible ways. Rereading tonight I found this: the author's name is Ts'ui Pen, an almost-homonym of Su Hui's pen!
According to Google, this connection has not been made, meaning that Borges, Su Hui, and her fictional counterpart now have one less path to parse."