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Shui Character Documents, Guizhou Province

Shui Character Documents, Guizhou Province

China - Qiannan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture Archives Libo County Archives & Chronicles Museum Archives of Sandu Shui Autonomous County Dushan County Archives Duyun City Archives Qiannan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture Library Ethnic Research Institute, Qiannan Normal University for Nationalities


Give a brief description of the documentary heritage being nominated, and the reasons for proposing it. Include the type of document heritage such as manuscripts, papers, film etc. Highlight the nature, uniqueness and significance of the nominated documentary heritage.

Written in pictographs and pictorial symbols by the Shui people in the southern mountainous region of Guizhou Province, China, Shui character documents are interpreted in the language and songs of Shui ethnicity and are the original religious classics mastered and used by Shui character masters (wise men). The documents that cover all aspects of social life such as astronomy & calendar, seasonal festivals & sacrifices and agricultural production not only serve as a memory system to maintain the folk beliefs and production and life of the Shui people, but are an important cornerstone of the social governance and cultural inheritance of the Shui people, well preserving the early human civilization.

The documents involve about 2,000 hieroglyphs and picture symbols which are mnemonic characters mainly written on Tupi paper as thick and rough as clay with a bamboo stick dipped into the ashes of the pot bottom. The important items are marked with minerals or vegetable dyes. Now, a total of 17,714 Shui character documents have been collected.

Experts have found that some commonly used words in Shui character documents appeared under the influence of Chinese characters.



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