Digital images of three Shui Manuscripts from the collection of Pan Changmao, a Shui priest from Xingzhai, Rongjiang. It is believed that Pan Changmao inherited the manuscripts from his father and uncles, who were also Shui priests.
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.
The collection consists of manuscripts for identifying auspicious dates, and a book concerning burial practice. 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.
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.