Monday, January 31, 2011

Dubious Circles and More Harappan Fish Signs

Among the rare Indus signs, there is a RAYED CIRCLE or, more accurately, a pointed oval with four diagonal rays protruding from it in a symmetrical pattern.  I enumerate this sign VI66 as the sixty-sixth of the six-stroke symbols.  Elsewhere it is known as KP358 and W356; Fairservis does not list it.  Wells finds five of these, three at Mohenjo daro, two at Harappa.  I think that there may be two more from Mohenjo daro, although the instance by itself on a pot is not quite identical (M-1627).

Indus seal H-131 with inscription: CUP ON FOUR PRONGS (?) / RAYED CIRCLE / BATTERY /
Note that at 13 signs, this is one of the longest inscriptions.
Note that the Harappan RAYED CIRCLE is not only identical side to side, but top to bottom.  Symbols comprising circles with various numbers of rays occur in many cultures, but one with quadrilateral symmetry such as this is certainly not universal.  Among Egyptian hieroglyphs, a circle typically adorned with three rays appears (N8).  Both as a glyph and as a pictorial element in artwork, this represents the sun and the rays extend from the lower half only, i.e., downward.  In contrast, the RAYED CIRCLE among Indus symbols has two rays extending upward and two downward.

Depiction of the sun from poster for 1979 King Tut exhibit.
It is based on the depiction on the back of one of the king's chairs.
Note rays extend downward only and this sun has a uraeus, sign of kingship
(the latter element not found in the simpler hieroglyph).
Old Chinese includes a character that is circular in some variants, with four “rays.”  This is dai3, “bones fallen to pieces; what remains definitively of a man’s skeleton....By extension, death, misfortune, evil, bad, to break to pieces, to shatter, to grind, fragments, dust” (Wieger 1967: 275).  The character, unlike the Indus sign, is only truly symmetrical from top to bottom, not side to side.  In another variant of the same character, the symmetry is from side to side but not top to bottom.  No variant seems to show all four sides symmetrically.
Proto-cuneiform does have such a sign in EZEN, which came to mean “festival, feast.”  In this sign, the “rays” are either small triangles or small rectangles, unlike the simple lines of the Indus RAYED CIRCLE.  In addition, in the proto-cuneiform variants the “rays” are positioned differently.  If this were a clock, the rectangles/triangles appear at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock.  In contrast, the Indus sign has “rays” midway between these points.
Proto-Elamite includes both types.  One sign closely resembles EZEN, except that the central circle is an impression, made by the end of a stylus (M327).  This sign has rectangles rather than linear rays.  Another proto-Elamite sign is characterized by triangles disposed in the same manner around the circular impression (M365).  Each triangular “ray” has its base against the central circle, while the proto-cuneiform EZEN variant displays each triangle with the apex against the central circle.  In an additional third proto-Elamite sign, triangular “rays” are again displayed around a circular impression, but this time in the four diagonal positions seen in the Indus sign (M365~a).  Also, there are two vertical lines passing through the center of the sign.
In Africa, the Adinkra symbols of Ghana include a motif that superficially resembles the Indus RAYED CIRCLE (Willis 1998: 154).  Here, the circle contains a diamond, and there are four oval rays.  The sign is called sunsum, “soul,” conveying concepts of spirituality and purity.  Elsewhere in Africa, rayed circles appear among the symbols engraved in cemeteries at Namoratunga, Kenya (Le Quellec 2004: 131).  Some of these continue in use among local people as cattle brands, indicating clan ownership.  I find three circles with rays in this group, one with two descending prongs, one with three (identical to the Egyptian glyph), and the last one with six all around.  None has just four.  The story is much the same across the continent.  Circular motifs adorned with varying types, numbers, and positions of rays are widespread, but it is most difficult to find one exactly like the Indus RAYED CIRCLE. 
Navaho sky motifs from center of sand painting: blue sun, white moon,
yellow and black winds.  Each is circular, with a feather above, horns on each
side, and "rainbows" beneath (Newcomb and Reichard 1975: Plate II).

In North America, parallels are more frequent.  In their corpus of engraved motifs, Heizer and Baumhoff note 100 occurrences of rayed circles (referred to as “sun discs”) from Nevada, 15 from eastern California (1984: 77, 304).  Examples with four diagonal rays such as the Indus sign possesses are relatively infrequent, but do occur (e.g., 1984: 167, fig. 104b; p. 192, fig. 129h; p. 355, fig. F-16e).  The sand paintings of the Navaho contain a number of motifs characterized by quadrilateral symmetry.  These typically show a central circle with some element attached at top, bottom, and right and left sides, the same arrangement as proto-cuneiform EZEN.  In one sand painting, for example, the sun is represented as such a circle with four rays above, four below, and four at each side (Newcomb and Reichard 1975: Pl. II).  Such a motif colored differently is the moon, and others the winds.  Instead of four straight lines, sometimes the “rays” are zigzags, which can represent rain.  Elsewhere, a central circle with four triangles attached, each apex toward the center, represents a water vessel from which four plants grow: corn, squash, bean, and tobacco.  Quadrilateral symmetry appears in all of these and is generally a feature of this genre.

Hohokam anthropomorphic figures, that above somewhat resembling the
"bedside rug" type with circular center and limbs plus head as rays.  This
scene may depict a birth (Wallace 1991: 65).
In Texas, some motifs closely resemble the Navaho astral bodies, sun and moon, as just described.  These Texan motifs often appear alongside anthropomorphic figures which are identified by various authors as shamans.  The “rayed circles” are then identified as shields held by the shamans.  Sometimes the “rays” extending from these “shields” are in the top-bottom and right-left positions, as in the Navaho sand paintings (e.g., Newcomb and Kirkland 1997: 39, Pl. 9, no. 1; p. 116, Pl. 74; p. 147, Pl. 98, no. 3).  At other times, the motif has diagonal “rays,” as does the Indus sign (e.g., 1997: 87, Pl. 48, no. 5).
Another type of motif, which may or may not be related, is essentially pictorial.  The central circle represents the body of a human or animal, with two legs descending and two arms plus the head protruding above.  Such a motif occurs in Africa, where it probably represents a lizard (Le Quellec 2004: 61, fig. 6, on the overhang of Sango at Sanga, Mali).  This author refers to the motif as the “bedside rug type” of zoomorph (in contrast to the silhouette form of figure, which typically depicts the animal from the side).  In the American Southwest, the Hohokam engraved a similar “bedside rug” figure that most likely represents a human (Wallace 1991: 65).  In Australia, such a motif may depict a turtle (Flood 1997: 107, at Yunta Springs).

Indus seal C-1 (detail) with inscription: FOUR POSTS / EGG ON NEST (?) / FAT LEG LAMBDA /
WITH SLASH / OVERLAPPING CIRCLES / POST (?).  Signs are difficult to make out on original.
I have cleaned up some of the details but interpretation of EGG ON NEST is open to question.
In contrast to the many analogs to VI66, Indus sign VI67 has almost none.  It is a loop resembling a finless fish, but with its tail fins upward.  Two prongs descend from the base of this loop and there is a short stroke attached to one of the “tail fins.”  There are actually several signs like this, each based on this type of loop, the different signs distinguished by the number of prongs below (0-4) plus the number of additional strokes added to one or another “tail fin” (1-3).  I have tentatively assigned them all the arbitrary name, EGG ON NEST, with the number of prongs beneath indicated in parentheses.  Hence, sign VI66 is EGG ON NEST (2).  This particular version occurs elsewhere only as W184.  Wells identifies it as a singleton from Chanhujo daro (C-1).
We can compare it to a different variant of the Old Chinese character cited previously, dai3.  This character resembles the letter “A” with a rounded top, above which rises an attached vertical and, to this, a still shorter horizontal stroke.  Some of the “shield” symbols of Nevada, in the American Southwest, are reminiscent of the Indus sign also.  But it require considerable imagination to see either of these parallels.  It may be justifiable to conclude, then, that the EGG ON NEST form is unique to the Indus script.
On the other hand, close examination of the single seal on which the Indus VI67 occurs gives reason to doubt the validity of this sign.  I tend to think that at least this version of this peculiar motif is actually a variant of the BIRD.  Some of the apparent birds depicted in the Indus script have legs toward the side, some have a stroke or two at the base to indicate a tail, and one has a stroke on the head, representing a feathery crest.  Such an analysis would explain the EGG ON NEST forms that stand on three prongs (two strokes for legs and one for a tail), as well as those with four prongs (two legs again, but with two strokes for a tail).  Sign VI67 lacks a tail, perhaps.  However, this analysis does not account for the elements at the top of the loop in most EGG ON NEST forms.  On this point, evidence from seal C-1 is equivocal about VI67, because the top is unclear.  But there are bits that suggest a bird’s head and not simply prongs.

Seal M-1228 with inscription: LOOP WITH EF PRONGS (?) / FAT LEG LAMBDA / SINGLE QUOTE.
Original is heavily scratched and interpretation is open to question.  I have highlighted the
elements I think comprise real signs, leaving others faint but still visible.
The next sign, LOOP WITH EF PRONGS, is enumerated VI68.  I do not think Wells correctly renders this and neither Fairservis nor Koskenniemi and Parpola include it.  It appears on a single seal which is quite scratched (M-1228).  It is my opinion that Wells has misread some of the scratches as part of the sign, which is simply the LOOP (my II10 and his W131), but upside-down (and note that there is an identical loop glyph in Egyptian, one variant with prongs above, another with prongs below).

Seal H-148 with inscription: FISH UNDER CHEVRON / WHISKERED FISH / SPEAR.
The following sign appears as KP62(a), W113, and Fs Q-5.  In my list it is VI69, the WHISKERED FISH.  This is one of the more common signs.  Wells notes it occurring 179 times, with 85 of these from Mohenjo daro, 78 from Harappa, six from Lothal, and two from Kalibangan (which seems to leave some unaccounted for).  This is one of the rare symbols that provides sufficient data for statistical analysis.
As such, Korvink so analyzes it as one of the five most frequent fish-like symbols (2007: 37).  They typically occur in the medial section rather than either the prefix or the terminal sections.  When there is more than type of “fish,” these generally occur in a standard sequence: (1) FISH UNDER CHEVRON, (2) FISH, (3) WHISKERED FISH, (4) DOT IN FISH, (5) SLASH IN FISH (the last combined in this analysis with BELTED FISH as variants of one sign).  No inscription has all of these, though up to three occur together.  In addition, the order violates this “rule” in more than a few cases (eight from Harappa; six from Mohenjo daro; one from Lothal).  Thus, the standard sequence posited by Korvink was apparently optional rather than required.
When it comes to meaning, Fairservis supposes the WHISKERED FISH to be a variant of the basic FISH.  He designates the latter as L-3, identifying it as a loop of thread, affixed by P-11, BI-QUOTES (a suffix).  He sees the FISH, in turn, as affixed by cattle horns, a feature also seen on the HORNED MAN (his A-4, which we have yet to discuss).  The definition Fairservis gives for this combination of three elements is “physician; madness, rage; be agitated; to tame,” and the sign represents either a religious functionary (a shaman or priest) or a tamer of cattle.  That is an astonishing collection of possibilities, to my way of thinking, and not convincing.
This proposal could not be any further from that put forth by Parpola (1994: 181-183 and 275-277).  He sees the various types of “fish” as depicting fishes.  Then, since the word for “fish” is homonymous with that for “star” in various Dravidian languages, he considers the FISH to mean “star” most of the time.  According to this interpretation, the fish-like signs demonstrate use of the rebus principle as a means for conveying phonetic information.  The principle of the rebus typically occurs when a pictorial symbol represents, not only what it depicts, but also a word or concept that is difficult to depict but sounds like it in the language of the symbol users.  For example, a rebus in English might use a drawing of an eye not only to mean “eye” but also “I,” a pronoun that sounds the same but whose meaning is hard to convey pictorially.
It seems to me that Parpola’s basic proposal requires us to assume that the Harappans never developed a symbol to actually represent a star.  However, the Harappans’ neighbors had no trouble doing so.  In what is now Iraq, the Sumerians and Babylonian had a star symbol, an “asterisk” with eight points.  The Egyptians had a glyph for a star as well, this one with five points. Neither writing system originally used the rebus for this concept.  There is an Old Chinese star too, although it is more complex.  Since each of these early writing systems came up with a way of writing “star” pictorially, it is difficult to believe that the Harappans should not have done the same, had they wished to symbolize a star.
Further, Parpola’s hypothesis requires that we not interpret any of the existing Indus symbols as a star.  But I can think of a  signs that might be such a symbol.  There is the five-pointed pentagram that looks like the modern Western star, my sign V20, STAR (a rare sign).  A second possibility is the six-pointed asterisk, my III19, ASTERISK (also rare).  A third possibility is the CARTWHEEL, my V43.  Unlike the first two signs, this one is frequent in inscriptions, occurring 125 times according to Wells.  This symbol’s use is widespread as well, with examples from Mohenjo daro, Harappa, Lothal, Kalibangan, Rangpur, Surkotada, and Nausharo.  I do not believe that we can be sure this sign is not a star.  Hence, Parpola’s most basic proposal remains unconvincing.
Be that as it may, it is interesting to examine fish-like symbols elsewhere.  Both proto-cuneiform (|SUKUD + SUKUD|) and proto-Elamite include examples (M281 and M282).  However, while both of these have “fins” on the sides and at the “tail,” neither has “whiskers.”  Egyptian hieroglyphs present almost the same pattern.  There are several fish glyphs representing different species, but none has whiskers.  The scarab or dung beetle is depicted from above and, in this view, has a pair of legs bent around the front end (L1).  These might be considered roughly equivalent to “whiskers.”  But that is stretching things.  Altogether, the glyph and the sign are not much alike.
The rock art of the American Southwest generally lacks depictions of fish, hardly surprising for this arid region.  Still, one engraving resembles a crab, a wide oval with two thick lines curving upward and four bending downward (Heizer and Baumhoff 1984: 355, fig. F-28a).  All of these protrude from the sides of the oval.  Tall ovals with descending side prongs are certainly anthropomorphic, some apparently horned (1984: 132, fig. 69c; p. 138, fig. 75b and d).

Indus seal M-129 with inscription: SQUARE AY / POTTED ONE / FISH UNDER CHEVRON/
WHISKERED FISH / BELTED FISH / SPEAR.  Note three different "fishes" occur together,
an indication that each conveys a distinct concept.
The next sign is FISH UNDER CHEVRON, VI70, also known as KP60, W114, and Fs Q-6.  Fairservis sees this as a ligature of the LOOP + BI-QUOTES plus a CHEVRON affix, somehow adding them up to “head or high chief.”  Parpola sees this as representing “black star” in Proto-Dravidian.  This expression refers to the planet Saturn in the modern language of Tamil.  Parpola projects the same expression for the same referent back in time to the ancestral language, a somewhat risky maneuver linguistically (2004: 275).  Wells does not attempt to define the sign, but notes 127 occurrences.  Of these, 84 are from Mohenjo daro, 34 from Harappa, five from Lothal, two from Chanhujo daro, and one from Lohumjo daro.
I see nothing comparable to this sign elsewhere.  In proto-cuneiform, one loop-shaped sign appears alongside an element resembling the letter “A” with a curved top.  In the broadest sense, this is similar to FISH UNDER CHEVRON, in that two otherwise independent elements occur together, and one is fish-like.  This is GIR2~b, which eventually had a variety of meanings: “cow or mare of intermediate age; sow; a fish, possibly a carangid.”  However, even in proto-cuneiform, the fish-like portion appears in other variants of GIR2 without the accompanying element.  In other words, the fishy part seems to mean “fish; female domestic animal” with or without the “affix.”  This does not seem to be the case in the Indus script, since two or more FISH signs occur together in the same inscription (i.e., an indication of differing concepts being attached to their use).

The signs on this seal (M-315) are clear, unlike those in which the DOUBLY FINNED FISH
supposedly appear.
The following sign, VI71, is the DOUBLY FINNED FISH.  As this name implies, there are two strokes on each side of the “fish” rather than just one.  It also appears as KP64 and W127, a rare sign that occurs twice according to Wells.  Due to the poor condition of the seal from Mohenjo daro, it is difficult to be certain of the reading, but this one does not appear to have doubled side fins (M-1027).  What Wells takes to be the beginning of a second fin on the preserved right side is only part of a crack, while the left side is not preserved.  The second occurrence, on a pot shard from Kalibangan (K-95), is broken at crucial points.  I believe it is a caged item.  That is, a “stacked two” occurs on the left, followed by DOUBLY FINNED FISH plus three short verticals, with another “stacked two” on the right.  Other caged motifs – whether composed of one or two signs” – appear in other lists as signs in their right, not sequences.  Thus, I would characterize this as CAGED DOUBLY FINNED FISH & THREE QUOTES, a 13-stroke sign.
This time, proto-cuneiform provides a reasonably good parallel with SUKUD@g~a.  This is somewhat fish-like and has three “fins” on each side.  It came to mean “height, depth,” a meaning that suggests it had nothing to do with fishes.  Proto-Elamite also includes a fish-like sign with doubled “fins” on the sides (M281~a).  This bears a small circular impression in the center, reminiscent of an eye.  Ovals with three prongs protruding from each side are counted among the 15 “sun discs” in the American Southwest (Heizer and Baumhoff 1984: 376, fig. F-37e).  At least some of these may represent insects (e.g., 1984: 304, fig. St-1 from Lagomarsino).
Another fish-like Indus sign is FISH BETWEEN POSTS, VI72.  Only Wells lists this one (W129).  He indicates only two of these, one from Mohenjo daro, the other from Harappa.  I see another from Harappa and one from Kot Diji as well, bringing the total to four (M-877, H-442 plus H-443 and Kd-7).

Seal H-443 with inscription: FISH BETWEEN POSTS / (?).  Final sign may be
SQUIRREL or it may be nothing but scratches.
In proto-cuneiform, the fish, KU6, appears inside a circle, which is LAGAB, a composite sign noted as |LAGAB~a x KU6~a|.  The later meanings of these individual elements include “stone” and “fish.”  Perhaps together they indicate a fish carved of stone (or a cow carved from wood)?  The only other example of a possible “enclosed fish” symbol occurs in Nevada (Heizer and Baumhoff 1984: 147, fig. 84b).  In this case, one of the fish-like horned humans is enclosed in an irregular oval along with a zigzag and a diagonal stroke.  Admittedly, this is not much of a parallel.
The last of this type is FISH BETWEEN PARENTHESES, VI73.  Like the previous sign, it occurs elsewhere only in Wells, where it is W130.  Wells sees two, one from Mohenjo daro and one from Lothal.  In my own database, I find a “fish” bracketed by parentheses from the first city, but there is also an “ear” element attached.  As an eight-stroke sign, this should not be included here.  Wells cites L-82 for the second instance, on which only a FISH and BACK CEE are actually visible (i.e., no CEE at the beginning to create full parentheses).  Since the CEE occurs both alone and along with another (or a BACK CEE), I think we cannot assume there was originally another element, now missing.  A dim and heavily abraded sign on C-6 from Chanhujo daro may be the single actual occurrence VI73.  Alternatively, this may be another instance with an “ear.”

Seal L-82 with inscription: FISH / BACK CEE / BI-QUOTES // DOT IN FISH / CIRCLED TRI-FORK.
Wells sees CEE at far left; I do not.
In proto-cuneiform, one sign is sometimes bracketed by another, as in |NINDA2 x HI|.  Here, a diamond lies between two bent lines.  The bracketing element is NINDA2, whose later meanings include “bushel measuring vessel.”  The diamond is HI, which came to mean “to mix; mixed, averaged.”  Together, they may represent a vessel with mixed contents.

Wallace, Henry. 1991. “Pictures in the Desert” in The Hohokam: Ancient People of the Desert, David Grant Noble, ed. Santa Fe, New Mexico: School of American Research. Pp. 62-73.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Symbols out of Circles

Today’s first Indus symbol is similar to two earlier ones, previously discussed.  Sign V50 which I term the BARBELL includes two circles joined by a horizontal line.  Sign V48 which I term POST BETWEEN CIRCLES includes the same two circles, this time with a vertical line between them.  Today, we come to BARBELL ON POST, VI60, which combines both of these five-stroke symbols.  Once again, there are two circles.  A short horizontal line joins them and, joined two the horizontal and descending from it, a vertical line stands between them.  Elsewhere, this is KP346, W352, and Fs K-10. 
Seal M-266 with inscription: LAMBDA / BARBELL ON POST /

Fairservis thinks the sign represents weighing scales, somehow deriving from this the meaning “worthy.”  The sign reminds me of a cartoon face, with eyeglasses (the BARBELL) over a nose (POST).  But it is hardly likely that the Harappans were predicting eyeglasses resting on long, skinny noses when they used this sign!  Nor is it any more likely that they had real barbells.  Reiterating a point I made initially, my use of the term BARBELL does not indicate my view of the sign’s meaning.  It is only a reference tool, to be used in conjunction with or in place of the numerical designation I assign.  It is my view that all other authors’ assigned meanings should be taken as equally valid references, but not as indicators of real meaning.  That is, I view all claims of decipherment with skepticism.
Wells cites eight occurrences, five from Mohenjo daro, three from Harappa.  I tend to think there are at least twice as many, perhaps eighteen altogether.  The larger number is based on the assumption that this sign is a variant of the five stroke POST BETWEEN CIRCLES (V48).  Wells divides the two, designating my V48 (his W359) the “b” variant of one form of my VI60 alongside an “a” variant that seems to be BARBELL SKEWERED BY POST.  That is, he shows “a” to have a central post passing through the horizontal.  Total occurrences of W359 are four, according to Wells, three from Mohenjo daro and one from Chanhujo-daro. 
As I see it, there is only one certain example of Wells’ “b” and that is C-20 from Chanhujo daro.  That is the singleton that I would designate POST BETWEEN CIRCLES.  All the other examples look like W352 to me, i.e., the BARBELL ON POST.  Nine are from Mohenjo daro (M-16, M-265, M-326B [twice], M-699, M-835, M-932, M-947, M-1180, and M-1202C).  Seven come from Harappa (H219, H-301, H-565, H-801, H-905, H-971, and H-988).  It is possible that my VI60 also occurs on a seal impression that is very hard to make out: M-1376.  There appear to be two circles to the right of a possible WINGED MAN.  These apparent circles are about half the height of the “man” and thus might be part of a BARBELL ON POST.  When all of these possibilities are added together, the total occurrences rise to 17.  If we add one more for the second appearance of the sign on M-326B, that brings the total to 18.  Wells’ total is a conservative count and mine extremely liberal, with the true count perhaps somewhere in between.
I find very few parallels for this sign outside the Indus Valley, despite its simplicity.  Two circles joined by a line – the “barbell” form – appears often enough.  Other groupings of circles and lines in similar arrangements are also reasonably frequent.  But the only example that is almost the same comes from the pre-columbian rock art of Nevada (Heizer and Baumhoff 1984: 177, fig. 114i).  Here, the symbol is made up of two circles joined together, that is, touching.  An angled line descends from the midpoint, resembling a backslash.  However, this may be more of an accident than a true symbol.  Strings of two or more circles connected by lines appear 135 times (1984: 77, with 130 “hollow” examples and 5 in which the circles are filled).  There are also 122 chains of circles, or series of two or more circles touching each other.  But the authors do not cite anything comparable to the BARBELL ON POST in their list of motifs.  Nor do I see any other possible examples.  Thus, the “backslash” may have been intended as a distinct symbol from the joined circles, perhaps even made at a different time. 
Seal M-324A with inscription: STACKED TRIPLE CIRCLES / POT.
(The same inscription appears on the reverse, over a different icon.)

The next symbol to consider is VI61, STACKED TRIPLE CIRCLES, also known as KP353(a), W353, and Fs L-10.  Fairservis sees these circles as beads, which for reasons best known to him yields the meanings “chief, important, great.”  Wells notes seven occurrences, five of them from Mohenjo daro, one from Harappa, and one from Khirsara.
In some hieroglyphic Egyptian texts, a small circle representing a grain of grain is repeated three times (N33).  This sequence appears in a horizontal row in some places, in a vertical column in others.  The triply repeated circles usually function as the determinative in words for metals, such as in nbw, “gold.”  Perhaps because the name of this metal ends with the same sound as that in the plural ending, the triple circles occasionally appear in other words to signal the plural itself. 
Based on this parallel, as a first guess for the meaning of the Indus STACKED TRIPLE CIRCLES, one might hypothesize a plural indicator.  Such an interpretation actually seems implausible for a rare symbol that can be found in the prefix (or header), the medial segment before a terminal, and in final position where no terminal is present (following Korvink’s structural analysis). 
Proto-cuneiform provides another analogy in the sign NUNUZ~a2.  This sign includes three round impressions made with the end of the stylus, each of these impressions bisected by a wedge-shaped impression.  The wedge shape was made either with the opposite end of the stylus or with a different stylus.  In any case, the later meaning of this sign is “eggs; offspring; female, woman.”  Assuming that the first of these is the original, one might then hypothesize that the Indus VI61 also means “eggs.”  However, most of the earliest texts in proto-cuneiform and proto-Elamite are economic in nature, as far as can be determined.  They contain various types of numerals, a relatively small core of signs indicating commodities, and many rare signs that probably indicate individuals and/or institutions.  The apparent numerals in the Indus script are not of the same nature, and the small core of frequent signs probably do not signify commodities.  So, one would not really expect to find references to eggs on Indus seals.
Old Chinese makes use of stacked circles, but typically two rather than three.  Two circles with a short vertical at the top of each are stacked vertically in mi4, “a strong thread” (Wieger 1967: 230).  A short trident element descends from the base of the lower circle in the old form of this character.  When two of these doubled circles-plus-trident characters occur side by side, they form another character, si1, “the silk-threads...thread, link, intricacy” (1984: 231).  The meaning of these two characters recalls Fairservis’ suggestion that three stacked circles in the Indus script represent beads.
In the rock art of North America, chains of circles appear frequently.  Such chains containing two, three, or more circles occur 122 times in the corpus of engravings from Nevada (Heizer and Baumhoff 1984: 77).  Examples appear in virtually every part of that state (e.g., 1984: 97, fig. 34b; p. 100, fig. 37c; and p. 115, fig. 52a).  In two of these instances, there are additional prongs attached to one or the other end of the chain, a feature that occurs in the next Indus sign.  While no specific meaning is known for this cultural area, the circles are clearly not part of a writing system, so they cannot be plural indicators as in Egyptian.  Nor is it likely that there is any one to one matching between symbol and referent, as in Chinese and perhaps also in proto-cuneiform.  If the Indus “script” is not really a writing system, as some scholars have suggested, then each sign may originally have borne a variety of meanings not closely related to individual words of any language.  We will discuss this possibility in a later post, after discussing each individual sign.

Tablet M-446 with inscription: BIRD (?) AND FISH BETWEEN PARENTHESES.
(Note the suggestion of legs, highlighted in pale color, on the left of "Footed Figure Eight")
Two stacked circles with two short prongs descending from the lower one comprise FOOTED FIGURE EIGHT (VI62).  This odd symbol occurs only as W370 elsewhere, where it is noted as a singleton from Mohenjo daro (M-446).  On this broken tablet, the sign is to the left of the FISH and both are bracketed by a single pair of parentheses.  Usually, Wells classifies an item plus its bracketing elements together as a single sign, also typical of the KP list.  For example, Koskenniemi and Parpola list 10 signs involving bracketing that include parentheses of various types: HORNED MAN BETWEEN CEES (KP10b), FISH BETWEEN PARENTHESES WITH EAR (KP53), FISH AND BIRD BETWEEN PARENTHESES (KP54), BIRD AND FISH BETWEEN PARENTHESES (KP55), BIRD BETWEEN PARENTHESES (KP67), SKEWERED CHEVRON BETWEEN BACK CEES (KP115), SEVEN QUOTES BETWEEN PARENTHESES (KP136a), STACKED SEVEN BETWEEN PARENTHESES (KP136b), STACKED TWELVE BETWEEN CEES (KP143), and ASTERISK BETWEEN BACK CEES (KP247). 
In this case, Wells’ W370 (the FOOTED FIGURE EIGHT) is surely part of KP54 and KP55 (Koskenniemi and Parpola 1982: 203).  In every one of these cases except for the reversed BIRD AND FISH BETWEEN PARENTHESES, Wells shares this concept of the sign in question.  Thus, I agree with both of the KP54-KP55 groupings, despite differences of detail between instances.  In other words, I do not believe that FOOTED FIGURE EIGHT is actually a symbol in the Indus script.
Turning to the photographed artifact in the Corpus, one immediately sees that M-447 is an unbroken duplicate.  The obscure quadruped whose head is almost obliterated on M-446 clearly shows to be a rhino on M-447.  Unfortunately, the inscription on the latter tablet is illegible and sheds almost no light on the problem.  However, on both tablets, there are hints that Wells has left out something in his depiction of W370.  Both of the “figure eights” have two prongs at the base, but they also have one or two prongs on the lower left.  These are most likely what is left of two chevrons representing the bird’s legs, as depicted in sign KP55.  I will discuss this rare compound symbol in a later post, when I come to the eighteen-stroke signs.

Old Chinese writing with a cowrie beneath "roof" (center top) (Wieger 1967: 373).
For now, it is sufficient to note the few parallels I am aware of to the supposed FOOTED FIGURE EIGHT.  In Old Chinese, a tall oval with two internal stripes represents the eye, while the “eye” element with two prongs at the bottom is a different character, bei4, “a cowrie, a small shell used for money in China in early feudal times” (Wieger 1967: 328).  It is now the 154th radical in the form of a striped rectangle with “legs” (and a bit tricky for the beginning reader to distinguish from jian4, “to look,” the 147th radical).  In the Old Seal script, there is a similar character with the cowrie at the base and a small circle close above it.  This is yuan2, which now means “officer, round; round, circle, sphere, dollar” (cf. Wieger’s depiction, 1967: 328, with modern character, Fenn and Tseng 1940: 650).
In proto-Elamite, there are almost no circles aside from the numerical signs made as impressions with a stylus.  There is a sign, though, comprising two joined diamonds, one larger than the other (M310~1).  From the side near the end of the larger diamond protrude three short slashes.  No specific meaning is known for this sign, apparently.  Equally enigmatic are a few examples from the rock art of North America.  In Texas, two circles are joined by a backslash (Newcomb and Kirkland 1996: 101, Pl. 58).  The circle at the base of the backslash has a dot at the center, while the one at the top has the two prongs.  In Nevada, one example has three stacked circles with two prongs attached to the top (Heizer and Baumhoff 1984: 173, fig. 110h).  Another contains two stacked circles with the prongs at the bottom, as in the Indus sign (1984: 102, fig. 39d).

Seal H-144 with inscription: CRAB WITH LEGS / BACK DEE-SLASH /
The following sign is again based on a “figure eight.”  This sixty-third of the six-stroke signs is FIGURE EIGHT WITH ATTACHED POST (VI63).  It is found elsewhere as KP80 and W369 but not in Fairservis’ list.  Wells notes that it is a singleton from Harappa (H-144).  On this seal, it resembles our own numerical grouping “81,” with a short horizontal line joining the two symbols.  I have found no analogous symbols elsewhere with which to compare it.

The next symbol is VI64, CIRCLE WITH TWO EARS, also known as KP373.  In form, it follows the typical pattern of items I term “circle” in this script and is oval, pointed at top and bottom.  While the sign is not listed by Wells or Fairservis, I find it to be a singleton from Kalibangan (K-15).  It appears on this seal beside another peculiar sign that is listed only as KP373 and not by either Wells or Fairservis (KP374).  What is especially odd about this is that both of these, KP373 and KP374, occur only once and only together, between two long, wavy lines or “esses.”  Elsewhere, Koskenniemi and Parpola group a sign that appears bracketed by ESSES together, as a compound sign.  That is, there is a HORNED MAN BETWEEN DOUBLE ESSES which they enumerate KP10(a).  Following that compound ligature is KP10(b), HORNED MAN BETWEEN CEES.  As seen in the discussion above, two signs may also be bracketed in such compound ligatures (BIRD AND FISH BETWEEN PARENTHESES).  So, why did they depart from this practice when listing CIRCLE WITH TWO EARS as an individual sign? 
What the reason, the other odd thing about this symbol (VI64) is that the “ears” are asymmetrical.  The “ear” on the left of the oval is high, while that on the right is low.  In Luwian hieroglyphs, there is a tall oval with two low “ears,” representing the syllable lu.  This sign is characterized by bilateral symmetry.  The same is true of the proto-cuneiform EZEN.  The “b” variant of this sign has two small, square projections, one on each side of the central circle.  Another variant, termed EZEN~b@t has these square “ears” at the top and bottom.  In both cases, the symbol shows bilateral symmetry. 
Detail from a Navaho sand painting, showing horned (and feathered) heads,
representing Sun, Moon, Yellow Wind, and Black Wind
(Newcomb and Reichard 1975: Pl. XX center).
Even in the rock art of North America, there are depictions of symmetrical horned heads, apparently human, with a general similarity in form (e.g., Heizer and Baumhoff 1984: 379, fig. F-40d).  Bilateral symmetry is once more the norm.  Turning to Africa, we note the Ghanaian Adinkra symbol of a bisected circle that has two “horns” at the top and another two at the bottom.  Named wawa aba, “seeds of the wawa tree,” it symbolizes hardiness, toughness, and perseverance (Willis 1998: 196).  This, too, is bilaterally symmetrical.  One of the variants, though, is depicted on a slant, so that two “horns” appear on the upper right side and two on the lower left.  This single variant shows the type of asymmetry found in the Indus sign.
Indus sign VI65 appears as a thin, tilted diamond overlaid upon a circle in the Koskenniemi and Parpola list (KP374).  But the sign that appears on K-15 appears to be two ovals overlapping in this way.  I have tentatively given it the name CIRCLE UPON DIAMOND.  But I tend to think it is actually a peculiar variant of what I call the FAT EX elsewhere (a twelve-stroke sign).  For the sake of thoroughness, I include the sign in my list and now turn to parallels in other scripts.
I have not seen anything like this odd sign elsewhere, although the feature of overlapping occasionally appears.  For example, there is an Egyptian hieroglyph in which the long and narrow O29 overlies the tall O7.  In this compound glyph, the tall, rectangular portion represents a temple or castle, while the overlapping glyph indicates the word “great.”  The compound glyph is O8, with the literal meaning “great castle.”  Neither of the two glyphs compounded here resembles the Indus sign, but the use of overlapping symbols is notable.  Basically, the two glyphs are read the same way as if they appeared one following the other.
Proto-cuneiform includes a few signs that also employ overlapping, for example, GA’AR~a2.  This involves a vertically disposed “bowtie” element, with an impressed circle covering the place where the apex of one triangle meets the apex of the other.  In this type of symbol, the two parts do not necessarily continue the same function as they do individually.  In later Sumerian, this sign became the word for a type of cheese product.  In other words, when two signs are compounded, they form a third and distinct sign.  These two different ways of using compounds – or ligatures – should be kept in mind when attempting to make sense of ligatures/compounds in the Indus script.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Modified 'Cups' and Circles in the Indus Script

Seal M-74 with inscription: LOOP ARMED MAN HOLDING SLASH /
In a previous post, I discussed an Indus sign I termed CUPPED SPOON, enumerated V36.  A possible variant of it is the CUPPED TRIANGULAR SPOON (VI55).  This is another “U” shape, modified this time by the insertion of a short post in its midst, to the end of which is appended a small triangle.  This sign appears elsewhere only as W312, presumably because Fairservis and the team of Koskenniemi and Parpola considered it a variant of the CUPPED SPOON (in which the “spoon” has a rounded end). 

Seal detail from M-662 with inscription: CARTWHEEL / SINGLE QUOTE /
Wells cites three occurrences of VI55, all from Mohenjo daro (M-74, M-662, and M-1200).  He gives the number of variants as only one but shows two, the CUP in “a” being wider, in “b” thinner.  As is often the case, my findings differ a little.  The triangular element differs in each occurrence of this sign, so, as there are three occurrences, there are also three variants.  The first, M-74, is simply triangular.  The second, M-662, is bisected vertically.  Since one can consider the bisecting line to be an extension of the “handle” of the “spoon,” this graphical difference does not change the number of strokes.  The triangle in the third, though, contains two horizontal stripes, making this an eight-stroke sign (M-662).  There may even be a fourth instance on M-1203, where the SPOON appears to be a cross between the triangular type and the circular type.  This one also bears two horizontal stripes.  A fifth possibility is M-1359, in which the “bowl” of the SPOON is difficult to discern, but may be triangular again.

Broken seal M-1200 with inscription: HAIRY HUNCHBACK / CUPPED (STRIPED) TRIANGULAR SPOON/
Fairservis identifies the CUPPED SPOON (V36) with a round “bowl” as representing a mortar and pestle.  Presumably he would see the triangular VI55 as representing the same objects.  As I noted in an earlier post, he suggests his “mortar and pestle” symbol was used for the numeral “100,” since the words “to grind” and “hundred” are homonyms (sound the same) in some Dravidian languages.  While he does not specifically mention this triangular “variant,” he does group the round version with the simpler CUPPED POST (III24).
There are a number of vaguely similar signs in other scripts, though none is identical.  In Luwian hieroglyphs, two ideograms come to mind.  The first is a “U” shape with something like a shepherd’s crook inside.  Here, the internal element touches the base of the “container,” which is not the case with the Indus sign.  The Luwian glyph means OCCIDENS or “west.”  The other Luwian analog is less similar, a square-based “U” or incomplete rectangle, bisected by a vertical post.  This glyph is DOMINUS, “lord.”  Combining the square-based “U” of the second of these glyphs with the internal “shepherd’s crook” of the first yields the syllabic glyph ia.
Proto-cuneiform includes a number of signs that are more or less “U” shaped, but they all have another stroke joining the “tops” (rotated to a horizontal position).  Thus, all are better described as half circles, among them DU6 (“mound”), GA (“milk”), GAR (“storeroom; to store”), NA (“human”), SUR (“chaff”), and SZA3~b (“heart, womb, midst”).  Many of these have internal marks of one kind or another, but there are no elements quite like either the rounded or the triangular SPOON.
There are two signs in proto-Elamite that contain spoon-like elements, both of which more closely resemble the Indus signs V36 and VI55 than any of those cited above.  In one Iranian sign, an angular fish-like motif contains a spoon-like element with the round portion toward the “tail” (M268~b).  This sign might possibly represent a vessel with its contents, since some fish-like symbols derive from proto-cuneiform models signifying beer.  The other proto-Elamite sign is an even better parallel to the Indus CUPPED SPOON (M248~a).  This symbol begins with a “V” shape at the base, a shape somewhat indented near the top.  The “spoon” motif inside is positioned toward the “V” end.  Unfortunately, the meaning is unknown.
Old Chinese provides another distantly similar design in the character kuai4, “a clod, a shovelful of earth; there is a hole, where the earth was removed; a furrow, a trench...boundary, limit” (Wieger 1967: 105).  This character is “U” shaped as is the Indus sign, this portion representing the hole in the earth.  This contains another character inside, which conveys the meaning “earth” when by itself.  However, the inner element is a cross on a horizontal base, quite unlike the Indus SPOON.
The rock art of Nevada provides a motif resembling an upside-down version of the Indus CUPPED SPOON.  In one instance, this combination motif is quite similar to the “U” shaped V36, while a second instance has the “spoon” nearly enclosed in a circle (Heizer and Baumhoff 1984: 143, fig. 80b and 80d). 
Seal M-1267 with inscription: VEE IN DIAMOND (partially reconstructed) / BI-QUOTES //
HUNCHBACK / VI56 / POT / SINGLE QUOTE / BI-RAKE (original is broken upper right).

The next Indus sign to consider is VI56, CHEVRON IN EL TOPPED POT, which appears elsewhere only as W317.  Wells gives the frequency as two, one from Mohenjo daro and one from Lothal.  In my estimation, Wells’ sign is actually two different ones.  The first one he cites, M-1267, is a FLANGE TOPPED POT (VI54), with both “flanges” inside.  The second, L-36, contains a chevron, as cited, but lacks any additional element at the top.  At least, this is how I see them.  The second of Wells’ examples appears in my database as a CUPPED CHEVRON that stands in initial position in the prefix, over the horn of the unicorn bull.  It may be compared to another initial sign, this one on a bas-relief tablet (H-172).  The latter is clearly a CUPPED CHEVRON.  I have included Wells’ sign with a name and enumeration in order to make my listing complete, in case my judgment is faulty.

Seal detail from M-852 with inscription: RAYED DIAMOND / THREE POSTS /
The following sign is CUP ON FOUR PRONGS (or CUP ON PRONGS with the number indicated afterward in parentheses).  As the fifty-seventh of the six-stroke signs, I assign it the numerical designation VI57.  It is also known as KP313(a) and W331 but does not appear in Fairservis.  Wells considers it a singleton, appearing only at Mohenjo daro (M-852).  I see it once more (M-1091).  In form, it is another “U” shape, this one resting on four strokes of varying angles, resembling a cooking vessel on sticks in a fireplace.

Two variants of Old Chinese bu2, "not,"
as found on oracle bones.
With this possible interpretation in mind, I point out the Old Chinese character min3, “a vessel, porringer, plate” (Wieger 1967: 322).  This character, now the 108th radical, also has a “U” shaped element at the top, with four strokes beneath it.  In addition, there is a horizontal stroke at the base, upon which the two central strokes rest.  However, such an interpretation of the Indus sign is not the only possibility, as we can also compare the Old Chinese form of bu2, which now means “not” and supposedly began as a representation of a bird flying upward (1967: 302).
In addition, the Egyptian hieroglyph representing a collar of beads provides a possible analog (S12).  The glyph is an ideograph or determinative in nbw, “gold.”  However, while there is a “U” shaped element in this glyph, with multiple prongs protruding at the bottom – more than in the Indus sign – there is also a horizontal line across the top, as well as loops on either side.  Thus, while the glyph may suggest yet another possible interpretation for the Indus sign, the latter is considerably less detailed (if it is also a collar or necklace).  Also, the wide, pointed oval that represents the mouth appears in two glyphs used to indicate fractional amounts.  The mouth with two vertical strokes below is the ideograph for “two thirds.”  The same mouth with three strokes below means “three fourths.”  Since the Indus “U” occurs on three prongs (V37), on four (VI57), and on five (VII43), one might postulate that these represent quantities or measures as well.
In proto-cuneiform, a sign with a “C” shape has three prongs arising from its left side (ZATU855).  This might be viewed as a horizontally positioned variation on whatever theme the “C” alone represents (if anything).  But its meaning is unknown.
In the rock art of North America, “U” shapes commonly appear.  But they generally contain either other “U” shapes or a simple post.  I see only one reasonably close parallel to the Indus VI57 in Texas (Newcomb and Kirkland 1996: 154, Pl. 106, no. 2).

Seal detail from H-449 with inscription: CUPPED ONE ON THREE PRONGS /
The fourth sign discussed here is CUPPED ONE ON THREE PRONGS (VI58).  As is often the case, it appears only in Wells’ list as W329, noted to be a singleton found only at Harappa (H-449).  Its form is the same as the CUP ON TRIPLE PRONGS (V37) except that there is a “quote” mark inside.  Both the simple “U” shape on three prongs and this one have a longer central “post” at the bottom, centered beneath the “U.”  While V37 reminds me of a flower on a stem with two leaves, the addition of the “quote” in VI58 recalls a motif painted on pot shards from Rahman dheri (Rhd-240 through Rhd-247).  In these examples, the central “post” is the head of a bovine, with the “cup” being the two curved horns.  The shorter strokes descending from the CUP at angles are now the animal’s two ears.  In some of these motifs, there is an additional element above the head and between the horns, paralleling the “quote” in the sign.  Most of the black and white photos of these painted pots are difficult to make out, but two appear in color at the back of Volume 2 of the Corpus (Rhd-241 and Rhd-246).
Two Egyptian hieroglyphs present an excellent parallel for this bovine interpretation of the Indus sign (F14 and F15).  The first hieroglyph represents the horns of an ox with another glyph between them (M4).  The combination means wpt-rnpt, “New Year’s day.”  In the second glyph, the same two elements occur, but the circular glyph representing the sun stands between the horns and the rnpt staff.  This glyph has the same meaning as the first.  In neither case is there anything comparable to the prongs upon which the Indus CUP rests.
Old Chinese contains a variation on the vessel character, cited above, providing a different possible interpretation of the Indus sign.  The same vessel with a short horizontal stroke inside is xue3, “a vase full of blood,” now the 143rd radical (Wieger 1967: 322).  There is another possibility in this script as well.  A “U” shape with a horizontal line across the top represents the mouth in Old Chinese, as noted in connection with the Indus CUP.  When there are with two strokes beneath the mouth, the character becomes zhi3, “but, however,” which Wieger imaginatively explains as a mouth with two puffs of breath issuing from it (1967: 80).

The final Indus sign for this discussion appears only in Wells as W364.  I call it DOUBLE CIRCLED DOTS (VI59).  Koskenniemi and Parpola include the CIRCLED DOT in their list and, no doubt, considered occurrences of doubling as two instances of the one sign.  Fairservis surely viewed it the same way.  These scholars may be correct in their interpretation.  However, it is worth noting that, while some signs are doubled relatively often, others never are.  Even some of the very common signs, such as the POT, never occur in pairs.  Thus, it is also possible that Wells is correct.  Further study is needed on this point.

Tablet H-854C with possible inscription: DOUBLE CIRCLED DOTS (variant "B").
In any case, Wells cites only three occurrences of this doubled sign and one variant.  He sees this as solely a phenomenon of Mohenjo daro (M-853, M-926, M-953).  I see a good many more, 16 in all, with one additional instance from Mohenjo daro (M-1429) and 11 from Harappa.  I find two variants, my “A” being the pointed oval type with a “quote” inside that Wells observes, my “B” being a very round motif with a circular mark or hole in the middle.  Of these the four occurrences from Mohenjo daro are “A” variants, a form I also see on H-798A.  The circular variant “B” occurs without any other signs accompanying it on 10 tablets from Harappa: H-295B, H-359C, H-360C, H-362C, H-364B, H-367C, H-854C, H-856A & B, H-981C, and H-988C.  A single occurrence from Rupar may be an additional example (Rpr-1B), bringing the total to 17.  It may be that Wells does not consider the round versions to be true signs since they appear unaccompanied by other clear signs.  But even if these are deleted, there are five clear occurrences of the “A” variant.
As for the issue of whether doubling is significant, we may consider Old Chinese.  A single “mouth” character, kou3, means just that, but doubling of this sign signifies a completely different character, xuan1, “clamor” (Wieger 1965: 180).  A similar principle is at work with the dotted circle (or a circle with a line inside) meaning “sun.”  Tripling this element creates the character jing1, “luster, brightness” (1965: 312).  Two such dotted circles appear in another character, one placed over the other, joined by a short vertical stroke, and with a similar stroke above and below.  This is xuan2, “to put...the thread in the dye; dyed thread; green color (later on, the black one...)” (1965: 228).  This character is now the 96th radical.
Proto-cuneiform provides another example of significant doubling with NUNUZ~c, “egg; offspring; female; woman.”  In form, this sign is comprised of two diamonds, each with an internal vertical stroke near the base, the one diamond stacked above the other.  Variants include two similar diamonds without internal marks, two diamonds “skewered” by a long vertical, circles attached in the same manner as in the Old Chinese “dyed thread,” and, finally, two round impressions, each with a short stroke rising from it.  The circular impressions may be positioned either vertically (i.e., one over the other) or horizontally (one beside the other).  In proto-Elamite, too, there is a sign made up of two joined diamonds, each with an internal line (M309~b).  In this case, the diamonds are aligned horizontally row and the internal strokes are also horizontal.
Among the African symbols used on Ghanaian Adinkra cloth, one is made up of two tall ovals, side by side, touching each other.  This is given the epithet Nyame biribi wo soro (Willis 1998: 156).  The literal translation of this is “God, there is something in the heavens!”  It symbolizes hope and inspiration, which come from above.  In this genre, the single element does not occur, only this doubled form.
Among the motifs found in rock art, a circled dot is quite frequent.  When two or more such motifs appear, it is a matter of judgmental whether multiplication of the motif is itself meaningful.  Indeed, all too often, it is not even clear whether both (or additional) repeated motifs were made at the same time by the same “artist.”  Occurrences of the circled dot in Nevada total 60, only some of these including doubling (e.g., Heizer and Baumhoff 1984: p. 104, fig. 41j; and p. 141, fig. 78c).  Such a motif occurs in Texas as well (Newcomb and Kirkland 1996: 101, Pl. 57 and Pl. 58).  Engravings of many circled dots appear in Australia at Wharton Hill, Olary region, at Frank Creek, Mount Isa, Queensland, and at Trial Harbour, Tasmania (Flood 1997: 185, 197, 238).  In each of these instances there are many more than just two.  Unfortunately, the meanings are unknown.

Fairservis, Walter. 1992. The Harappan Civilization and its Writing. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
Flood, Josephine. 1997. Rock Art of the Dreamtime: Images of Ancient Australia. Sydney: Angus & Robertson.
Gardiner, Sir Alan. 1976. Egyptian Grammar. Oxford: Griffith Institute and Ashmolean Museum.
Heizer, Robert and Martin Baumhoff. 1984/1962. Prehistoric Rock Art of Nevada and Eastern California. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Koskenniemi, Kimmo and Asko Parpola. 1982. A Concordance to the Texts in the Indus Script. Department of Asian & African Studies, University of Helsinki.
Newcomb, Jr., W.W. and R. Kirkland. 1996/1967. The Rock Art of Texas Indians. Austin: University of Texas.
Wells, Bryan. 1998. An Introduction to Indus Writing: A Thesis. The University of Calgary.
Wieger, Dr. L. 1965. Chinese Characters. New York: Dover (originally published 1915).
Willis, W. Bruce. 1998. The Adinkra Dictionary: A Visual Primer on The Language of Adinkra. Washington, D.C.: The Pyramid Complex.

Additional information and pictures of rock art available at: