Nvshu (women's writing): the only existent gender script
Updated: 2011-03-08 11:23
Jiangyong County is located in southern Hunan Province. It is adjacent to Guilin of Guangxi Province in the west and south, and it is subordinate to Yongzhou City. Jiangyong Nvshu is popular in Shangjiangwei area (including Shangjiangwei Town, Tongshanling Farm and some villages nearby), and used to be popular in Xiaopu Town, Qianjiadong Yaozu County, Yunshan Town and Huangjialing County, etc.
Nvshu is passed on from the older generation of the family, via private schools, getang (a singing activity), or self-learning. As almost every local woman knows how to sing Nvshu songs, self-learning is very easy. However, no matter by which means, Nvshu is handed down exclusively by women.
Making Friends with Nvshu
In Jiangyong, male friends are generally called Laogeng and female friends Laotong. Laogeng and Laotong can be passed down to the next generation. In areas where Nvshu is popular, as long as two women are of congenial temper, they can become sworn sisters and Laotong despite their age. They write the association letter, write to each other, and compile songs or books out of their friendship with their own characters, and spread the songs and keep the books for a life time.
Getang Culture Is the Hotbed of Nvshu While Nvshu Is the Soul of Getang Culture
Nvshu works are mostly long verses. 90% of them contain seven characters, and a few are of five words or uneven length. These works have to be intonated in a fixed deep and pathetic tune. Whenever a Nvshu song is heard, girls, married women and old women would gather together to sing the songs sentimentally. Everyone will be absorbed in the world of female emotions, performing, singing and enjoying themselves. In the homeland of Nvshu, maybe not everyone can write Nvshu, but almost everyone can sing Nvshu songs.
Wedding Is A Concentrated Reflection of the Nvshu Culture
The most representative Nvshu is the Sanchaoshu which is sent to the bride as a wedding gift and the most representative Nvshu song is the wedding song. The grandest, largest and longest Changgetang is Jingetang, Zuogetang, Hegetang, Kujia and Hesanchao during the wedding. In a couple of or dozens of days during the wedding, the female friends of the bride will do needle work and sing Nvshu songs together.
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