Nu Shu: A Hidden Language of Women in China

Nu Shu: A Hidden Language of Women in China

Release date:

1999

Running time:

58 minutes

Formats:

Available on DVD

Closed Captioned:

Yes

Availability in North America:

Available in Canada

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  • Audience level:
  • Elementary School
  • Middle School
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  • General

In feudal China, women, usually with bound feet, were denied educational opportunities and condemned to social isolation. But in Jian-yong county of Hunan province, peasant women miraculously developed a separate written language, called Nu Shu meaning "female writing." Believing women to be inferior, men disregarded this new script, and it remained unknown for centuries. It was not until the 1960s that Nu Shu caught the attention of Chinese authorities, who suspected that this "peculiar writing" was a secret code for international espionage.

This insightful documentary focuses on 86-year old Huan-yi yang, the last remaining resident who still practices the art of Nu Shu, exploring the role of Nu Shu in women's lives and revealing a women's subculture born of their resistance to male dominance.

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