Jiangyong County is located in Yongzhou City of Hunan Province with the area of 1,571 square kilometers and a population of 238,000. It enjoys a humid subtropical monsoon climate with four distinct seasons. Jiangyong County boasts rich natural resources and favorable natural conditions, namely the abundant sunshine, wild weather and abundant rainfall. Jiangyong is celebrated as “home to China fir” and “Green treasure house”, with the percentage of forest cover amounting to 69.8% of the total. There are varieties of trees in the county, among which, there are over 50 rare and precious species under the state’s key protection, such as metasequoia, gingkgo, Ormosia hosiei and Erythroxylum kunthianum. In the county, there inhabit 17 minorities, including Yao, Han, Dong, Han, Li and Miao nationalities.
Jiangyong County is rich in tourism resources with beautiful rural scenery, including the ancient village with the history of thousands of years, the ancient peculiar Women Script of Jiangyong, temples, pavilions, towers, stone tablets, ancient bridges and about one hundred historical sites. Besides, 200,000 mu grapefruits within the area create a series of bright scenery. Jiangyong County has rich and characteristic folk customs of the Yao nationality, and there are various kinds of festivals annually, such as Panwang Festival, Changxin festival and bullfighting festival.
Women’s Script in Jiangyong
Women’s Script, the only female characters discovered in the world, originated from Jiangyong County of Hunan Province. It was discovered in Jiangyong County by a professor in Wuhan University in the year 1982 and shocked the world. Women’s Script is also known as Women’s Script in Jiangyong. In history, Women’s Script used to be prevalent among women in Jiangyong as well as its adjacent counties, including Jianghua Yao Nationality Autonomous County and some areas of Guangxi Province. The secret Women’s Script can only be understood by those women; men are unable to know the meaning of those characters with peculiar shape and strange functions.
Women’s Script is generally the variation of Chinese characters. Based on research, there are totally over 1,700 individual characters, among which over 80% derive from Chinese characters. Women’s Script is a kind of phonetic script, difference form Chinese characters which are ideographic writing. Women’s Script has its own peculiar social functions, mainly functions as the creation of Women’s Script works and recording their songs. Women’s Script is mainly written on manuscript, fans, handkerchief or scraps of paper, with the length ranging from several characters to thousands of characters. Women’s Script features five unique characteristics. First of all, it can only be used by women. Secondly, it is only passed to female instead of male. Thirdly, it records the local dialect, and it’s read and sang with local dialect. Fourthly, it has peculiar character pattern, namely high in right and low in left. Fifthly, the script will be burnt when the person dies. The contents of Women’s Script include autobiography, narration, marriage and sacrifice. About the origin of Women’s Script, there are several versions. From time immemorial, women of Jiangyong used to weave and embroider together. They couldn’t go to school and learn formal Chinese characters. Thus, on the basis of weaving and embroidery designs, local women created this peculiar kind of writing form, Women’s Script.
Women’s Script has significant academic value for research of philology, linguistics, sociology, ethnonymics, anthropology and history. It is praised as a striking discovery and a miracle in the history of Chinese characters by scholars at home and abroad. In April 2002, Women’s Script was ranked into the list of Chinese Documents Heritage List, and it was listed into Guinness Book of World Records in October 2005 as the most characteristic female words. In June 2006, Women’s Script was ranked into Chinese Intangible cultural heritage List.
With the development of times, women’s educational level and social position is improving day by day. Women’s Script is on the verge of extinction at present. Now Women’s Script is only prevalent among those old women in some villages.
Tips: Jiangyong Women’s Script Ecomuseum is located on the beautiful Puwei Island, 15 kilometers from Jiangyong County. It opens from 8:30 to 17:30 every day.