Translating Nüshu: Drawing Nüshu, Dancing Nüshu

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There is evidence of women artists producing art works throughout history, but often their work was attributed to their male guardian. However, in a remote rural area of south China women developed their own script, nüshu (literally women’s writing) in which they wrote songs, ballads, laments, autobiographies, and correspondence with other women. Nüshu works were produced by women and for women and as such were left unacknowledged. This article argues that in order to acknowledge nüshu as an art practice it needs to be “translated,” referenced, and acknowledged by other artists. The paper explores the way in which two Hong Kong artists—working in drawing and dance respectively—translate, commemorate, and construct an artistic heritage and a genealogy of women artists in China through references to nüshu works.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-416
Number of pages24
JournalArt in Translation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2020


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