Nüshu is a script used by uneducated rural women in Jiangyong County, Hunan Province, in China. It is believed to have proliferated since the end of the Ming Dynasty and flourished through the Qing Dynasty to the Cultural Revolution. In the past, women in this particular region used this “secret script” to communicate and correspond with one another, promote creative expression, and cope with their hardships in times unkind to women. While it could certainly be considered “endangered” today, with the help of people in the Jiangyong community and worldwide, they will be able to preserve their own cultural heritage. In this paper, I explain the background of Nüshu, describe the information gained from research and interviews conducted in China, and discuss various attempts that have been made to sustain this interesting aspect of Chinese women’s culture. Hopefully, by informing audiences worldwide, we can keep the traditions of this fascinating women’s literate practice alive.
|Keywords:||Endangered Language, Women's Culture, Preservation, History, Script|
Assistant Professor, English, Rhetoric and Writing, College of Languages and Communication, University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA