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DoTERRA with Melissa Group

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Samuel Gomez
Samuel Gomez

ZO Script

It is popularly said that Mizoram and the Zo people had no writing system before the arrival of the British, however, this is only partially true. Mizo folk tales talk of a lost script which was once written down on parchment. As far as the myth goes, the parchment was supposedly eaten up by a mad dog which rendered Mizo people scriptless for much of their supposed history. Now, these are myths and cannot be taken as historical facts, however, this does not stop historians from speculating the origin of this story. According to some historians, this particular story was never meant to be interpreted literally, the mad dog that ate up every parchment available they say was not a literal dog but a foreign king or an authoritative figure who invaded the Zo people. Incidents of invading forces destroying all records and documents of the invaded is not an out of the world phenomenon, in fact, it happens very often. The burning of the Puyas( Manipuri religious text) by a Hindu king as retold by the Manipuris is an example.

ZO Script

The Zo lai or the Pau Chin Hau script ( also called Sukte Hawrawp in Mizoram) is an indigenous Zo script that developed in the then Chin Hills and was in use by followers of the Laipian religion whose leader was Pau Chin Hau. The Laipian movement was a reformation movement of the indigenous Zo religion that put a lot of emphasis on Literacy and the reformation of certain o religious practices like animal sacrifice and the role of the "Pathian". The group spread their message by writing down manuscripts and inscriptions on stones while teaching locals how to read and write.

This is not to say however that all Zo Lai inscription in Mizoram is now lost, few stone inscriptions survive to this day. Apart from the few stone inscriptions surviving, a small Community in Chin State is still preserving the use of this script. This community is made up of Laipian practitioners and numbers to only about a handful of thousands, making the already endangered script even more critically endangered. Surrounded by other Zo people who use the Latin based script and being under the Military Junta government of Myanmar, the propagation of the script and its development by the community has been slow and on a downward trend. In Mizoram, a century of ignorance within the academic circle and the effectiveness of the Hunterian writing system within the masses have prevented Zo Lai from taking any roots. The Lai Pian script for a very long time was lost in the memory of the people in Mizoram. Hopeless as it seems, there could be a silver lining in the story of Zo lai or the Script of Pau chin Hau in Mizoram. With the advent of the internet and social media, more and more people, particularly younger scholars are beginning to show interest in the script and the Government of Mizoram realising the importance of the script and the heritage that it carries conducted a seminar on the Script in 2016. With the small yet significant development that is unravelling in regards to the script in Mizoram, Pau Chin Hau script may one day get the interest and admiration it deserves, only the future can tell. A brief introduction to the Zo Lai Script and the man behind it

Crucially, the Zou script received recognition and support from the Manipur state government, and the Manipur State Kala Academy acknowledged the work of Siahzathang by presenting him with awards in 1984 and 1991.

In the 1990s, literary organizations instituted working groups to manage the development and promotion of the script. The Zou Literature Society [ZLS]) in Churachandpur began to promote the script by forming the Zou Script Development Society [ZSDS], which in turn has published books to provide instruction in the script, including the Zou Script Self-Instructor and the Zou Script Primary Book.

More recently fonts have been developed, though the user community remains small and there is still debate among the broader Zo community as to whether their cause would be strengthened if they united under a single language or script.

There are two distinct Pau Cin Hau writing systems, suggesting an interesting evolution of purpose. The script originally devised by Pau Cin Hau in 1902 is said to have been reformed twice, once into a logographic script consisting of 1,050 characters (the oddly specific number corresponds to the number needed to write out the text needed to recite a Laipian ceremony) and then into a 57-character alphabet.

The Pau Cin Hau script, or scripts, seem to have stayed close to their spiritual origins, being used first for writing and printing Laipian texts and books of ritual songs, and then for Christian literature.

The rise of Christian missionary activity in the region and the subsequent decline in the practice of the Laipian traditions led, not surprisingly, to the decline in use of the Pau Cin Hau script, especially when American Baptist missionaries created and introduced a Latin-based script and typeface. Yet we have heard from members of the Zou community that Pau Cin Hau is alive and its supporters are looking for help to digitize the script.

Par-zo can be divided into two sub-arts: mask and image or script engraving. The script engraving is further divided into 'Do-ko' stone engraving and 'Shing-par' woodblock engraving. However, the art of scriptural woodblock carving is now considered as an endangered intangible cultural element of Bhutan.

Yig-par appears in smaller size compared to Dhar-par blocks. It entirely contains Buddhist scripts sometimes with few portraits of some enlightened beings. Scriptures like Buddhist cannons, commentaries, philosophies, instructions, meditations, etc. are often engraved on both the side. However, both the Dhar-par and Yig-par will have identical mirror-like scripts.

The Monasteries, temples, and Dzongs (fortress) in Bhutan are considered as the treasure house of Buddhist scriptures as well as woodblocks. One can even find five or ten pieces of prayer flag or Mandala woodblocks in some private Bhutanese houses.

Sek-chung is the main engraving tool made of a good quality metal, handle of soft wood and with a metal ring to prevent the handle from cracking the handle. It is similar to the skew chisel with pointy slanted tip. These appears in various sizes depending on the size of scripts.

Min-dru is another important engraving tool mainly used for making a hole and carving curve shaped syllebles such as; O-shaped or half-circular-shaped scripts. Min-dru is like a fluted chisel and it has similar length and decorations like Sek-chung.

Besides Sek-chung and Min-dru, there are also other tools crucially necessary for the art. To mention these; Tag-pai Shing, jeli (plane) and Sok-som (sandpaper) to smoothen the plank, Par-yig (script sheet), Pyin (glue) to paste the script, Sek-chung, Min-dru, Dar-do (whetstone) to sharpen the tools, Pe-kar mar-khu (mustard oil) to soften the wood, phag-ze (brush) to clean he surface, and Chu-rey (damp cloth) to cover the woodblock.

There are series of techniques of traditional production process. occasionally, these are procedures are highly recommended to be followed in order to produce qualitative scripts, beauty and the life durability of the woodblocks.

1. Selection of good quality plank. 2. Preparation of preferred size, smoothen the surface of both the sides and make marginal demarcation to paste the script sheet.3. Apply glue on the plank surf

4. After drying, sprinkle water on the back of the script sheet and rub gently by fingers until the trace of the script is visible in the wood which in result appear like A mirror-image script.5. Using the tip of chisel, prick deep at all the empty spaces and pour mustard oil over it. It helps to appear clear visibility of the script in addition to softening the wood Keep. The oil should be absorbed totally by the wood.

6. 1st step: Using Min-dru, scripts with a circular shape are pierced and made hollow. The skew chisel is used next to pierce upwards along the border of headlines and vowels. This stage is called go-key or making cracks on the side.7. Reversing the woodblock yig-drui go-key, the shape of headline and vowels is made vivid.8. Keeping the woodblock in the right position, using the chisel consonants, strokes, and even the dots have to be carved from the left hand side line. This step is called Tsug-ju or piercing.

9. Reversing the block again, the lines, strokes, and spaces between the scripts have to be made clear and visible and the step is called teg-ju. Normally after teg-ju, the visibility of the scripts appears quite clear; it is called Ched-jey or half-way accomplishment. 10. & 11. Tsug-ju and teg-ju are done repeatedly till the woodblock script appears satisfactorily for printing.

Completing the engraving, a draft printing is made to examine the quality of scripts and for proofreading before into a proper woodblock shape. If there are broken scripts, missing words, a mark is put for location. The final step of the engraving is called zug-jab or making a replacement. Again a final editing is done for the authenticity.

Proper stacking and care should be maintained to locaet the woodblocks. It is recommended not to stack one another on the top since there is high risk of breaking the scripts when it is being used. Therefore, woodblocks should always be stacked in a horizontal standing position with a foam sheet cut in its size and insert between the woodblocks to protect the engraved scripts.

Het Script Lab heeft als doel het (door)ontwikkelen van eigen feature length scripts van de deelnemers. Startend in maart 2019 en eindigend in maart 2020 doorlopen de deelnemers in een jaar tijd een intensief coachingsprogramma. De plannen worden zo begeleid door een script consultant en hoofd-coach met een brede nationale en internationale expertise en ervaring. Vaste mentoren/script-doctors zijn Marietta von Hausswolff (Torino FilmLab) en Moniek Kramer (Lucia de B.). Ook zijn er gedurende het lab diverse gast-coaches. 041b061a72


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