Photographer's Note

From a wall in a rural area where few tourists go, this is the second in a series of five on the pictographic characters of the Naxi minority who occupy the DongBa Valley around the ancient city of Lijiang. Referred to in the literature as dongba, it is an ancient independent script.

The following was taken from Wikipedia: "The script was originally used as a prompt for the recitation of ritual texts. ... Dongba is both pictographic and ideographic. There are about a thousand glyphs ... Priests drew detailed pictures to record information, and illustrations were simplified and conventionalized to represent not only materialistic objects but also abstract ideas. Glyphs are often compounded to convey the idea of a particular word. Generally, as a mnemonic, only keywords are written; a single pictograph can be used to recite different phrases or an entire sentence.

"From Chinese historical documents, it is clear that dongba was used as early as the 7th century, during the early Tang Dynasty. (The Naxi name of the script, 'wood and stone records', testifies that Dongba was once carved on stone and wood. Nowadays it is written on handmade paper,...) By the Song Dynasty in 10th century, dongba was widely used by the Naxi people.

After the 1949 Communist Revolution in China, the use of Dongba was discouraged. In 1957, the Chinese government implemented a Latin-based phonographic writing system for Naxi. During the Cultural Revolution, thousands of manuscripts were destroyed. Paper and cloth writings were boiled into construction paste for building houses. About half of the dongba manuscripts that survive today had been taken from China to the United States, Germany and Spain.

Today Dongba is nearly extinct, and the Chinese government is trying to revive it in an attempt to preserve Naxi culture."


UPDATE 18 APRIL 2012 - My Chinese friend has kindly provided the meaning of the characters which I literally list below:

Top Left: Cross river by rod
Top Middle: Capable man
Top Right: Love
Bottom Left: Catch fish
Bottom Middle: Birth
Bottom right: Climb

ChrisJ, timecapturer, SnapRJW, prasun984, danos, thebest trouve(nt) cette note utile

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Neels Gunter (corjan3) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 253 W: 17 N: 452] (2109)
  • Genre: Gens
  • Medium: Couleur
  • Date Taken: 2007-06-09
  • Categories: Vie quotidienne
  • Exposition: f/10.0, 1/250 secondes
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Versions: version originale
  • Date Submitted: 2012-04-15 2:01
  • Favoris: 1 [voir]
Viewed: 3281
Points: 14
Additional Photos by Neels Gunter (corjan3) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 253 W: 17 N: 452] (2109)
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