The China History Podcast
CHP-154-The Secret Nüshu Script

In this shorter than usual episode Laszlo introduces a little piece of culture taken from the southern portion of Hunan Province.  Generations of illiterate women from a single county on the Hunan-Guangxi border, denied education, created their own writing script.  Men never learned it and so it was used by these women to communicate with each other and to record their secret throughts and inspirations.  Almost lost to posterity, Nüshu has made somewhat of a revival and today others are learning it and keeping it alive. 

Terms from this Episode

 

Nüshu   

Shang Dynasty  商朝  The Shang Dynasty

Xiangnan Tuhua  湘南土  The local dialect of southern Hunan

Chengguan Tuhua  城关土  The dialect in and around Shangjiangxu Town

Cun    Village

Jiangyong County   江永 

Hunan  湖南  Province in China

Guangxi  广西 Province in China

Guilin  桂林  City in Guangxi

Shen Nong    You all remember him from the Tea Series, right??

Yao People  瑶族  The Yao minority people, also called the Dao in Vietnam

Shangjiangxu Town  上江圩  Ground Zero for Nüshu culture, located in Jiangyong County

Nüshu wenhua  文化  Nüshu Culture

Jiebai Zimei  拜姊妹  Sworn Sisters

Laotong  老同  “Old Same” A very close relationship arranged between two girls.  It lasted a lifetime

Jiangyong Xian 江永 Jiangyong County

Sanzhao  三朝  A custom followed on the third day after marriage or after birth

Sanzhaoshu  三朝  The Third Day Book

Xianfeng Emperor  咸丰帝

Guangxu Emperor  

Yang Huanyi    The last person who actually lived the Nüshu Culture.

Puyi     The Last Emperor

Putonghua  普通  Mandarin (language)

Zhou Shuoyi    Researcher who did much to revive Nüshu Culture

Yang Yueqing  月清 Canadian Film maker

 

 

Lisa See  http://www.lisasee.com/

Lisa See’s Novel about Nüshu, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

 

Learn Mandarin at MSL MASTER:  http://mslmaster.com

 

Yang Yueqing’s documentary “Nü Shu: A Hidden Language of Women in China”

http://www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/makers/fm432.shtml

Direct download: CHP-154-The_Secret_Nushu_Script.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 9:12am EDT

1