Dongba Script

Photo taken at the 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The pictographic writing used by the Naxi people, known as the Dongba script, is one of the few pictographic sys- tems still in use. Consisting of more than 2,000 separate characters, Dongba pictography has been used primarily to record what is read or chanted at Dongba religious ritu – als. But the pictographs have also been used to document history and culture-creating a virtual encyclopaedia of the Naxi people. Dongba texts have been collected and preserved by many museums and libraries around th e world since the 1920s. An estimated 20,000 unique texts are said to exist.Because the pictograms are so distinctive,