While my visual journals
are not traditional Nü Shu, i am taken
with the idea of using symbols to represent words, and decided to
create my own books which speak through the use of images, in addition
Each journal is hand made by myself, and then created by
painting, writing, drawing, scribbling, scratching, and what ever
else i feel like doing in them.
For those of you who are interested, please read the following passages,
which originally appeared on www.ancientscripts.com, for additional
background information regarding this fascinating language. Links
to my own journals are listed below the description.
Nü Shu [literally
translated as "Women's writing"], is a writing system
that was used exclusively among women in Jiangyong County in
the Hunan province of southern China.
the standard written Chinese, which is logographic, Nü Shu
is roughly phonetic, with each of its approximately 700 characters
representing a syllable. Although some Nü Shu characters
appear to have been derived from standard Chinese characters,
most are unrelated.
Hunan, women were discouraged from learning Nan Shu-"man's
writing", i.e. Chinese written language; Nü Shu
was therefore invented and used secretly, carefully guarded
from men. Often, the characters were disguised as decorative
marks or as part of artwork. Although Nü Shu has existed
for centuries, it was not known to most of the world until
1983, due to the intense secrecy regarding the
Before the Cultural
Revolution, it was customary to burn Nü Shu
books during the author's funeral to comfort her in the
next world. During the Cultural revolution, thousands of Nü Shu
manuscripts were destroyed, due in part to the fear of secret
languages and to the mission of Red Guards
to destroy old cultures. As a result, few Nü Shu manuscripts
the Chinese Revolution, literacy spread among women, and Nü Shu
fell into disuse. At present only a handful of old women
are capable of reading it. After Yang Yueqing made a documentary
about it, the PRC government started to popularize the
effort to preserve this rare writing system.
Yang Huanyi, an inhabitant
of Hunan province and the last person proficient in this writing
system, passed away on September 23, 2004 at the age of 98.
please click on a journal
below to view contents
[ journal one ]
[ journal two ]
[ journal three ]