Digital images of two Shui manuscripts from the collection of Yao Changli, a Shui priest from Baitong, Rongjiang. The manuscripts have been in Yao Changli's family for more than two generations.
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. 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.