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Dongba culture on show at month-long exhibition in Shanghai

( ) 2018-07-13

Dongba culture on show at month-long exhibition in Shanghai

A month-long exhibition to display the Dongba culture of Yunnan province takes place in Jiading, Shanghai, throughout July. [Photo/]

A total of 24 Dongba cultural items including Dongba script, Dongba paintings, Dongba paper, and Dongba books are being displayed at a month-long exhibition in Jiading district, Shanghai, throughout July.

Dongba culture originated from the Naxi ethnic group, mostly inhabiting in Lijiang, Yunnan province, in Southwest China. The culture was formed in the Sui and Tang dynasties (581-907 AD).

The term Dongba refers to Naxi priests who are masters of traditional culture, literature and Dongba script.

Dongba script, a core component of Dongba culture, consists of 1,400 glyphs. It is the only pictographic language in the world still actively maintained, which gains itself the reputation as the “living fossil” of human writing.

The script appeared as early as the 7th century during the early Tang Dynasty. It was originally used as a prompt for the recitation of ritual texts.

Dongba paper is the oldest existing type of paper. Although it is made with original tools and crafts, the paper is impressively both mothproof and resistant to natural erosion. Dongba paper serves as the main means to pass down Dongba culture from generation to generation.

Visitors to the exhibition are able to learn to write their names with Dongba script on Dongba paper. Chen Dengyu, a researcher at Lijiang Museum, said that he expects more people get to know Dongba Culture, to know Naxi, and to know Lijiang through the exhibition.

In an attempt to preserve Dongba culture and to increase knowledge of it on the domestic and global stage, The Dongba Cultural Research Center was founded in 1991.

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