Nushu is literally translated as 「woman's script」. It was spread in Jiangyong County in Hunan province of southern China, and the purpose of it was to allow women to communicate exclusively.

According to Chinese tradition, when a girl would be getting engaged, her girlfriends and sisters would create a so-called 「third-day-letter」 for her. I contained various wishes embroidered on the fabric. It was quite difficult to draw enormous Chinese hieroglyphs. In addition, patriarchy was prospering, so women were not taught to write. That's why they united and simplified the writing system, thus adapting it for embroidery. The Italian script called Kaishu was taken as a basis and main reference for Nushu. Since men didn't tend to embroider various secret letters, Nushu was mostly used by women. It's actually impressive that they created the script under the circumstances that were supposed to make them more obedient and therefore predictable. Instead of following the Confucian practices without discipline breaches, they invented a script which allowed them to develop a whole female network. That's the spirit!

Anyway, the exact date or period of Nushu birth is unknown. Nowadays it's considered obsolete. Nushu gradually disappeared in the 20th century due to various reasons: the development of the education system, the invention of sewing machines, etc. Moreover, it was also linked with some historical events, like the Japanese siege and the Cultural Revolution.

However, these days the government is doing everything possible to preserve the language and make sure that it's not forgotten. There is even an initiative which offers Nushu speakers financial aid in return for new Nushu songs, needleworks, texts and other contributions to the cultural enrichment of the community.


スコープ 1B170–1B2FF
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