Dongba Pictographic Writing

Lijiang, Yunnan province

The Dongba script of the Naxi people, illustrated here, was "reputedly invented by King Moubao Azong in the 13th century"1, and is the only pictographic writing that is still in use today. It is not a complete representation of the Naxi language, however, since it was invented only as a memory aid to help the Dongba shamans recite their ritual texts2. The examples seen here are from a codex that is displayed in the Wen Chang Gong.

(1) Naxi Scripts. Simon Ager,
(2) A Comparison Between the Development of the Chinese Writing System and Dongba Pictographs. Seaver Johnson Milnor, University of Washington Working Papers in Linguistics, vol. 24 (2005), eds. Daniel J. Jinguji and Steven Moran, pp 30-45, Seattle, WA