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Playing with words, painting on plexiglass and wearing teeth

Korean calligraphers have long used porcelain water droppers to moisten blocks of solid ink. The Natural History Museum's new Korea Gallery, exhibiting artifacts from the museum's anthropology collections, spells out the details.

Native Fashion
For members of the Crow tribe, an elk tooth dress is a treasured possession. Traditionally, elk hunters collected eyeteeth, but as the animals became scarce, faux cuspids came into vogue. This 1890 ensemble from Montana, with "teeth" whittled from bone, appears in a collection of 55 Native dresses, at the American Indian Museum through January 2.

Creative Writing
Libyan-born Ali Omar Ermes riffs on the Arabic letter "qaf," or "q," in this 1983 painting (click on the photo gallery, above, to view images), one of 80 works that show how artists play with words and symbols, at the African Art Museum until August 26.

New Faces
Among the modern likenesses at the Portrait Gallery through January 6 are several by California-based Brett Cook. He paints graffiti-inspired portraits on plexiglass mirrors, so a viewer's reflection is part of the picture.

Catch This
Food, music and crafts from Asia's Mekong River region grace the National Mall, plus the traditions of Northern Ireland and Virginia, for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, June 27-July 1 and July 4-8.

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