China is expected to hold an international symposium soon on "Shuishu", the unique pictographic characters of the ethnic Shui group, according to a researcher with southwestern Guizhou Institute for Nationalities.
Pan Chaolin, the research, said a wealth of ancient Chinese characters, such as inscriptions on tortoise shells and bronze, have vanished for centuries. The Shuishu, however, is still in use by the ethnic Shui group.
"The study of Shuishu is of great significance for the study of the ethnic group's culture, linguistics and history," Pan acknowledged.
According to Pan, Shuishu is a rare pictographic language which is regarded as the "living fossil" and books written in the language had recorded encyclopedic attainments scored by the ethnic Shui minority people in astronomy, geography, religion, folk-custom, ethics, philosophy, aesthetics and law.
Guizhou inhabits about 369,700 people of Shui minority people, which account for some 90.8 percent of the ethnic Shui population in China.
Shuishu was incorporated into the China Archive Heritage selected by the State Archive Administration of China in March 2002, and great efforts have since been made by both central and local cultural authorities for the protection of the unique language.