Shufa and Women's secret scripts

Women's Shufa

Nüshu is a 19th Century Chinese Script that women in a Jiangyong County used to communicate with each other.  The script is very distinct from the style we are used to seeing, very elegant long lines and is phonetic rather than symbolic.  As with lots of ancient arts, the ability to write and read it is dissappearing.

“Out of the thousands of scripts that are gender-specific to men, here we have one that we know is gender-specific to women,” says Silber, who has been researching Nüshu since 1985. Yi was one of the last remaining writers of Nüshu, a fading script that only women knew how to write and read.

Stemming from the southwestern Hunan Province county of Jiangyong, a small group of women in the 19th and 20th centuries practiced this special script that no man could read or write. The writing system allowed these women to keep autobiographies, write poetry and stories, and communicate with “sworn sisters,” bonds between women who were not biologically related. The tradition of Nüshu is slowly vanishing, but at one time gave the women of Shanjiangxu freedom to express themselves.

Read the full article here.