Symposium on digitizing Dongba pictographs held in Beijing

By Wang Kaihao | | Updated: 2016-12-27 16:22

A symposium on the research and digitalization of ancient Dongba documents was staged in Beijing on Sunday.

The symposium, hosted by the Beijing Federation of Social Science Circles and the Beijing Association of Dongba Culture and Arts, focused on constructing the world's first international digital platform for Dongba pictographic documents.

The project, which began in 2012, aims to collect, interpret and digitize the documents.

It has digitalized 4,412 ancient Dongba records stockpiled in over 30 repositories in libraries and individual collections in China and other countries, including France, Sweden and the United States.

The entire project is expected to be completed in December 2017.

The Dongba pictographic writing system is used by shamans of the Naxi ethnic group in Yunnan province.

It's widely called "the world's only living pictographic system". There are only 12 Naxi shamans who are proficient at translating ancient Dongba books.

The latest research results suggest about 40 percent of the surviving 30,000 ancient Dongba documents are spread among more than 10 countries.

UNESCO listed ancient Naxi Dongba manuscripts as a World Memory Heritage in 2003.

Wang Yiran contributed to this story.


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