Friday, August 15, 2008

Nushu, Chinese womens writing

Reading a book they where talking about a language called Nushu, a syllabic script created and used exclusively by women in Jiangyong Prefecture, Hunan Province, China, i thought i would find out some more about it add it to my Blog. I love learning new things

Women where not taught how to read and write for many centuries, they developed the Nushu script in order to communicate with one another, they would embroider the script into cloth and wrote it in books and on paper fans.

Nushu was mainly used in the creation of San Chao Shu or "Third Day Missives", a cloth-bound booklet created by mothers to give to their daughters upon their marriage, or by woman to give to their close female friends. The San Chao Shu contained songs written in the Nushu script expressing hopes and sorrow, and was delivered on the third day after a woman's marriage.

Today Nushu is being taught from grandmother to grandaughter, men even to today are never taught how to read or write Nushu as it is womens writing only
  • The Nushu script consists of between 1000 and 1500 characters.

  • Nushu is written in vertical columns running from top to bottom and from right to left.

  • Many Nushu characters are based on Chinese characters, while some are modelled on embroidery stitches and designs.

  • Nushu characters represent pronunciation, unlike Chinese characters, which represent pronunciation and meaning.

The following is an example of Nushu. The text on the left is Nushu, while on the right is the exact Chinese transliteration. The columns for both texts in the original right-to-left order.
The passage roughly translates as "They taught her to apply makeup and comb her hair; on her head she was wearing pearls that are shining magnificently; she is sitting like Guanyin (a Buddhist goddess) out of a Buddhist shrine".

Some great websites i found about Nushu are -Omniglot and Ancient Scripts