Italian girl addicted to female script give it a boost

2023-10-10 Editor : Zhao Li ECNS App Download
Falcini showcases the Nv Shu character 'blessing' that she wrote in Jiangyong County, Hunan Province. (Photo provided to China News Service)

Falcini showcases the Nv Shu character 'blessing' that she wrote in Jiangyong County, Hunan Province. (Photo provided to China News Service)

(ECNS) -- At an Nv Shu Museum in Yongzhou City of central China’s Hunan Province, Italian Giulia Falcini was holding a mobile gimbal. She recorded an inheritor singing songs of Nv Shu, or “Women’s Language”, which is the world's only known written language for women that dates back more than 1,000 years in Jiangyong county of Hunan Province.

“I will upload the video to my Instagram, inviting more people to listen to the voices of Jiangyong Nv Shu in China,” said Falcini.

The post-90s girl is proficient in Chinese, German, Portuguese, French, and English, engaging in translation work.

Over the years, she has been dedicated to introducing Nv Shu culture overseas. She authored the monograph on Nv Shu, which is the first comprehensive study of the subject in Italy.

Recognized as the 'world's most gendered script,' Nv Shu has been included in the Guinness World Records. The customs of Nv Shu have been listed in the first batch of China’s national intangible cultural heritage. Nv Shu works primarily document various aspects of women's lives, covering topics such as marriage, family, labor, and social interactions, expressing the emotions of women, including happiness, resentment, and sorrow.

Falcinifirst learned about Nv Shu while studying translation at the University of Bologna. Her Chinese language teacher, who is Italian, just shared limited information about Nv Shu. “She only mentioned that Nv Shu originated in a small county in China and is the world's only script exclusively used by women," Falcini explained.

It wasn't until a Chinese friend gifted Falcini an Nv Shu Chinese Dictionary that she truly fell in love with the elegant script. Whenever she had spare time, Falcini would search online for information related to Nv Shu.

Upon discovering that Professor Zhao Liming at Tsinghua University was a renowned expert in Nv Shu, Falcini took the courage to send an email to Zhao but to no response. Undeterred, she contacted the secretariat of Tsinghua University, expressing her desire to become Professor Zhao's apprentice

“At that time, Professor Zhao had already retired. I asked if it was possible to get in touch with her, and eventually, I added her on WeChat and came to China to study Nv Shu with her,” Falcini said.

The diligent gill immersed herself in the extensive literature on Nv Shu and even learned to write in the script. To delve deeper into the historical and cultural aspects behind Nv Shu, she decided to conduct on-site research in Shangjiangwei Town, Jiangyong County.

In Jiangyong, Falcini developed friendships with staff from the Nv Shu Museum and inheritors. “We write Nv Shu together, sing Nv Shu songs, and it brings us a lot of joy.”After several years of in-depth research into Nv Shu, Falcini used live streaming and social media to introduce Nv Shu to the overseas audience.

Some Italians sent her messages expressing a desire to further understand Nv Shu culture and asked her to bring Nv Shu calligraphy and related artifacts to Italy for an exhibition.

In June 2020, in a Venice art space, Falcini curated a Nv Shu exhibition featuring dozens of calligraphy pieces she had collected, as well as some Nv Shu artifacts embroidered or stamped on paper, books, fans, and scarves. The exhibition garnered attention from many Italian media outlets and cultural figures.

"To make more people around the world aware of and fall in love with Nv Shu, it's important to spread it in ways that appeal to the younger generation, such as integrating Nv Shu into painting, music, dance, and film,"Falcini stated.

She began conducting Nv Shu lectures at universities and art institutions in countries like Italy, Spain, and Austria.

Falcini increased her presence on social media platforms such as Weibo, Instagram, and cultural websites, consistently showcasing Nv Shu on various items like fans, clothes, and garments, along with depictions of the life scenes of women in Jiangyong.

Falcini also translated Zhao Liming's works on Nv Shu into Italian for publication. “Despite Nv Shu appearing somewhat different from Chinese characters, I didn't intentionally exaggerate its mysterious essence. Instead, I presented it as a part of everyday life for Eastern women, seeking emotional resonance between women from the East and the West,” Falcini said.

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