Pau Cin Hau Logograms — 1902 AD, Mayanmar

Pau Cin Hai unknown logogram

In 1902 AD, a man named Pau Cin Hau had a dream where the characters of a logographic script were revealed to him.  He also developed the Laipian religion, and his script was used extensively in liturgical works.  Laipian actually means “script-based”, so the script was intimately connected to the religion.

The script had around one thousand characters, which is a small number for a logographic language.

Also unusually for a logographic language, the glyphs are very abstract, with no recognizable connection to tangible physical objects.

There is a story that the Chin people had a script in ancient times, but that there was only one copy of it, written on an animal hide.  The guardian of the script went travelling with his dog, who got hungry and ate the script!

In the 1950s, there was a rapid Christianization of the Chin people, which lead to a drop in the number of people who learned the Laipian scripts.

Links: Unicode proposal

About ducky

I'm a computer programmer professionally, currently working on mapping applications. I have been interested non-professionally for a long time in the effect on society on advances in communications technology -- things like writing, vowels, spaces between words, paper, etc.
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6 Responses to Pau Cin Hau Logograms — 1902 AD, Mayanmar

  1. Jim DeLaHunt says:

    Interesting…. So in which part of the world did Pau Cin Hau live? What languages do the Chin people speak?

  2. ducky says:

    Jim — Those aren’t actually a dead-easy questions to answer precisely. The Chin are a loose grouping of tribes, with a bunch of related languages. Or dialects. Some live on the India side of the India-Mayanmar border; some live on the Mayanmar side of the India-Mayanmar border. I have not been able to find out if Pau Cin Hau lived on the Mayanmar side or the India side.

  3. Jim DeLaHunt says:

    Still, “India and Myanmar” is helpful. My first guess was “China”.

  4. Pingback: Zolai — 1952 AD, India | Glyph of the Day

  5. ducky says:

    Well, “Mayanmar” *was* in the title. Yes, I know, you don’t read titles. I love you anyway.

  6. sangnaulak says:

    Pauchinhau lived in the Burmese side of the border. He belonged to the Zomi community. The script and the indegenous religion propagated by him also made its way to the Indian side, among the Zomi and once it is said to have a good following in the region. As stated in the article, it died down with the advent and adoption of Christianity.

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