The minaret displays an incredibly intricate baked-brick work, stucco and glazed tile ornamentation (containing Kufic and Naskhi calligraphy and verses from the Qur’an, relating to Mary, the mother of Jesus)...
Dan Cruickshank, who visited the place, writes about the carvings: “This chapter, called Maryam, tells of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, both venerated in Islam, and of prophets such as Abraham and Isaac. It’s a text that emphasises what Judaism, Christianity and Islam have in common, rather than their differences. It seems the Ghorids placed the text here to appeal for harmony and tolerance in the land, a message that is more relevant now than ever.”"
Until the 20th century, most women in China were forbidden from using written language. So the women of Hunan Province developed a secret script, which they called Nü Shu (women’s writing), composed of thousands of phonetic icons. Embroidering the italic alphabet on fans and clothing, the women passed it from generation to generation in defiance of societal norms. The last person who was proficient in the underground language died in 2004. You can get acquainted with Nü Shu characters in the puzzle below, then use them to help spot any other coded languages you may find throughout the issue.
The 21 Nü Shu cards above have been jumbled below. The top card is flipped over. Which character is it?
By Mark L. Gottlieb, Mike Selinker, and Teeuwynn Woodruff