from stone to flax

Flax Script is a shorthand. In truth, it’s creation was a happy accident. It came from the realization that the interior of stone glyphs could be drawn in, thus totally reinventing the syllabary and all subsequent glyph combinations.

“Historical” Background

In the days when words were cut from wood and stone, the act of writing held a more ceremonial, sacred and exclusive place in society. The advent of paper made writing more common and accessible.

Consequently, the highly ceremonial, orthographically ornate stone glyphs came to be replaced by a system better suited for cursive writing.


Flax script, so named because its original medium was flax paper, quickly became the preferred script for every day used. The practical advantages were improved writing speed, reduced pen lifting, and less ink smudges.

Flax Syllabary


The flax syllabary is used similarly to Bopomofo (注音符號/ㄅㄆㄇㄈ): to teach students how to memorize glyphs. Unlike Bopomofo, it remained popular despite the advent of the Umu alphabet—the equivalent of Pinyin.



Glyphs are formed in much of the same way. Except with shorthand, glyphs are built vertically. It’s then stencilled in.

On to the Umu Dictionary or Writing Samples