Wei Tiangao Collection of Shui Manuscripts

Digital images of two Shui manuscripts from the collection of Wei Tiangao, a Shui priest from Libo. The manuscripts are examples of fundamental Shui texts, giving guidance on achieving good fortune and avoiding bad spirits. It is a tradition that scribes do not identify themselves in Shui manuscripts, and therefore information concerning the creators of these manuscripts is mostly unknown.

The manuscripts are written in the Shui language and script, one of the few remaining hieroglyphics in the world. The manuscripts include Shui works of astrology, folklore, ethics, philosophy, history, art, geography and theology, religious practice and ritual.

All traditional Shui manuscripts are written on cotton paper in black ink; illustrations are often written in red ink. Bamboo sticks and brushes are comonly used to create the manuscripts. Most manuscripts are bound with cotton thread, and a few have cloth covers. The paper, ink and covering cloth are made locally.