The architect carries a garland in his left hand. The gloss is
dāma a wreath or garland of fls. J i.397 (Pali); rebus: dhamma. The entire architecture of the Sanchi monuments is an offering, a puja by the gtarāś sangha. In his right hand is held ukkā; (dhamm -- okkā); ii.401; iv.291; v.322; Vism 428; ThA 287; DA i.148; DhA i.42, 205; PvA 154. Esp. as tiṇ˚ firebrand of dry grass M i.128, 365; Nd2 40Ie; DhA i.126; Sdhp 573. -- 2. a furnace or forge of a smith A i.210, 257; J vi.437. Rebus: he is dhammika (adj.) [=Sk. dharmya, cp. dhammiya] lawful, according to the Dh. or the rule; proper, fit, right; permitted, legitimate, justified; righteous, honourable, of good character, just, esp. an attr. of a righteous King (rājā cakkavattī dhammiko dhammarājā) D i.86; ii.16; A i.109=iii.149; J i.262, 263; def. by Bdhgh as "dhammaŋ caratī ti dh." (DA i.237) & "dhammena caratī ti dh., ñāyena samena pavattalī ti" (ib. 249). <-> Vin iv.284; D i.103; S ii.280 (dhammikā kathā); iii.240 (āhāra); iv.203 (dhammikā devā, adh˚ asurā); A i.75; iii.277; Sn 404; DhA ii.86 (dohaḷa); iv.185 (˚lābha); PvA 25 (=suddha, manohara). Also as saha -- dh˚ (esp. in conn. w. pañha, a justified, reasonable, proper question: D i.94; S iv.299 in detail) Vin iv.141; D i.161; iii.115; A i.174. -- unjust, illegal etc. Vin iv.285; S iv.203; A iii.243. (Source for the photograph: http://imagesvr.library.upenn.edu/a/aiis/thumb/A36-60.JPG)

Associated with the dharma glyph which adorns the Sanchi torana is the
śilpi, the architect of the poems in stone. What was he called? Hindi. संगतरा/श  (nm) gtarāś a stone- cutter/carver/dresser; ~शी stone cutting/carving/dressing. He works with sang, 'stone'. His signature tune is the composite glyph: sang makara 'water-elephant, water-crocodile'; ligatured with a mollusc, sangi and puccha 'fish-tail', the sanghi performs puja with his exquisite architectural forms of the temple, kole.l, gui .

Bharhut. Cepholopod mollusc holding the dhamma-cakka. East gateway, finial on top architrave

Mathura lion capital. British Museum.

Sanchi Sanchi Stupa 1, northern gate., south side, superstructure, sandstone. http://www.bergerfoundation.ch/wat4/picture?ref=7256-3191-2328.61&babel=eng&type=medium

Sanchi Stupa 1, northern gateway., north side, architraves, sandstone. http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017.2/A36-60

Ekahamsa: representation of the divine, paramātman

Veneration of hamsa in Bharhut Ajatashatru pillar: (hiramaya purua ekahasa: Brihadarnyaka Upanishad)

Austro-asiatic etyma: <a~sa>(*),,<ha~sa>(P),,<a~sO>(*),,<ha~sO>(P),,<hOnsO>(K),,<OnsO>(K),,<OGsO>(M)  {N} ``^duck [KMP], ^goose, ^swan [P]''.  *Sa.<ha~s>, Mu.<ha~s>, ~<ha~sa>, Ho<ho~s>, H.<hA~sA>, O.<hO~sO>, Sk.<hA~sA>.  %1751.  #1731.

The hieroglyph of hamsa, ‘swan’ is the clearest representation of something held to be divine as apparent from the following glosses:

Telugu. హంస [ hasa ] or హంసము hamsa. [Skt.] n. A swan. A certain fabulous bird supposed to be a swan. Also, a water-fowl, probably the Ruddy Shieldrake. శ్వేతగరుత్తువు. నీళ్లువిడిచి పాలుద్రాగే పక్షి. "రాజహంసలు గాని రాజహంసలుకారు." Vasu. pref. 62. The name of one of the vital airs. శారీరవాయువు, ఉచ్ఛ్యాసనిశ్వాసరూపమైన వాయువు. The Divine Spirit, పరమాత్మ.

लॄ -हंसः the chief or highest Hasa (an allegorical designation of the soul). हिरण्मयः पुरुष एकहंसः Bi. Up.4.3.11 (Skt. Apte lexicon)

From the semantics related to the use of लॄ prefix, it is clear that  लॄ-हंसः is the synonym of ekahasa, which is explained further in Brihadarnyaka Upanishad as a reference to the paramātman.

Br. Up 11. 'On this there are these verses:

'After having subdued by sleep all that belongs to the body, he, not asleep himself, looks down upon the sleeping (senses). Having assumed light, he goes again to his place, the golden person, the lonely bird. (1) [The Mâdhyandinas read paurusha, as an adjective to ekahamsa, but Dvivedaganga explains paurusha as a synonym of purusha, which is the reading of the Kânvas.]

12. 'Guarding with the breath (prâna, life) the lower nest, the immortal moves away from the nest; that immortal one goes wherever he likes, the golden person, the lonely bird. (2)

13. 'Going up and down in his dream, the god makes manifold shapes for himself, either rejoicing together with women, or laughing (with his friends), or seeing terrible sights. (3)

Monier-Williams Skt. lex.

===> [ ekahaMsa ]3[ 'eka-haMs'a ] m. ` the only destroyer of ignorance ' [ Śaṃkara on cf. ŚvetUp. vi , 15

---> cf. [ haMsa ] ] , the Supreme Soul cf. ŚBr. xiv

---> ( [ am ] ) , n. ` inhabited by a solitary or unique swan ' , N. of a Tīrtha cf. MBh. iii

I am grateful to Shri Krishen Kak for elucidations and links on the habitat of Anser indicus which is truly the hamsa of Bharatiya tradition as a venerated paramātman (hieroglyph read rebus: hamsa).

Anser indicus, hamsa in flight.

Notes on hamsa habitat

According to Salim Ali, the call of the anser indicus is a musical aang aang produced in various keys, and that it is one of the most unforgettable sounds to the wildfowler. (JAF Roodbergen, Bharavi, 1984, Mallinatha’s Ghantapatha on the Kiratarjuniya , Brill Archive, p.479, fn. 257)

“The Bar-headed Goose is one of the world's highest flying birds, having been seen at up to 10175 m (33,382 feet). It has a slightly larger wing area for its weight than other geese and it is believed this helps the goose to fly high.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar-headed_goose) cf. Lee, S.Y., Scott, G.R., Milsom, W.K.2008 Have wing morphology or flight kinematics evolved for extreme high altitude migration in the bar-headed goose? Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - C Toxicology and Pharmacology 148 (4):324-331]

Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus: a Himalayan migrant, most of the world’s population winters in India and Pakistan after breeding around mountain lakes in central Asia. http://10000birds.com/sultanpur.htmHamsa4

Hamsa sacred goose reliquary, stupa 32 of the Gangu group, Babar Khana, Taxila, Gandhara, 1st century CE. This Hamsa was found inside a granite bowl, with an inscribed gold sheet stating "Shira deposited the relics of her departed parents in the Hamsa". It has a cavity in the middle for the insertion of the relics. British Museum.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamsa_bird

This is a remarkable artefact. Hamsa is used as a receptacle in the context of depositing the relics of Shira's departed parents. The worship of pitr-s is clearly linked with the metaphor of hamsa which also means paramātman in many bharatiya languages.

The hamsa, or bar-headed goose, is said to reside on Lake Manasarovar in Tibet and would migrate to the Indian lakes in the winter. It is said to eat pearls and separate milk from water from a mixture of both. In many texts it is extolled as the king of birds. In one of the Upanishads, a hamsa is also said to possess the sacred knowledge of the Brahman. The hamsa is also the 'vehicle' (Skt: vahana) of goddess Saraswati.” http://tinyurl.com/dzjfzncf. RV 2.8.9, 8.36.8, 9.32.3 Kalidasa refers to rajahamsa, kadambahamsa as accompanying rain clouds on their way from the vindhyas to the Himalayas.  (loc.cit. Parmeshwaranand, 2000, Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Vedic terms, Sarup and Sons, p. 292)


“Hans, Greylag-;71-76cm. Sexes alike;ashy-grey, white and brown goose;generally occurs on large jheels and rivers, breeds in swampy high altitude lakes in Ladakh, winter migrant elsewhere, including North India;gregarious, nocturnal, often feeding on winter arable crops, common throughout North India;species is refered to as "Hamsa" or"Rajhans" in ancient Indian epics, and its trans-Himalayan migration is equated to religious pilgrimage;estimated world population around 20,000 birds.” (Source: AlfredJRB, Kumar A, TakPC and SatiJP, 2001, Waterbirds of Northern India. Rec. Z.S.I. India, Occ. Paper No. 190:1-xxiv.1-227) http://www.ncbi.org.in/wbni/Bar_headed_goose.html

Location of the photograph: Lhasa, Tibet

“Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) is a common winter visitor found in large wetlands of Haryana and nearby cultivation.  It has two distinctive black bars across its neck. This bird arrives in Haryana in October and departs by the end of March. In winter, the Bar-headed Goose can be commonly seen in large water bodies like those in Sultanpur National Park and Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary.Local Names: Hans, Raj Hans, Birwa and Sawan”


“Bar Headed Geese.The highest flying of all birds bird, the bar-headed goose, has the best respiratory system of any bird allowing it to fly over the Himalayas from their breeding grounds in Central Asia to wintering areas.” http://www.copyright-free-photos.org.uk/animals/birds/96-bar-headed-geese.htm


Habitat: As seen from the map, the habitat is northern Bharat including the Himalayas. Cf. the glosses in Kashmiri and in all Bharatiya languages including Munda.



See video on the highest flying bird on the globe, hamsa, anser indicus

Listen to hamsadhwani Location:   Lijiang, Yunnan, China. 17 Jan. 2009

Anser indicus audio (Cornell Lab of ornithology, Macaulay library)


Loud calls of a single Anser indicus

The ragam named hamsadhwani in Carnatic music may be heard: Vathapi Ganpathim by MSS Amma (Raga: Hamsadhvani)>>
free carnatic music vocal mp3 download

Source: http://www.carnaticindia.com/download_videos.html 

Hong, hamsa (mythical gander) in Chiang Mai, Thailand

“The hong or hamsa is a mythical gander linking the oceans with the sun and the heavens. It serves as a mount for Varuna and Brahma. It represents the breath, the foundation of our existence, and serves as the gatekeeper to heaven. Common in temples with links to the Mon people, the hong is believed to take the souls of the builders of the temple to heaven.” 


ghans- Goose. Oldest form *hans-, becoming *ghans- in centum languages. 1a. goose1; goshawk, from Old English gs (nominative plural gs), goose; b. gosling, from Old Norse gs, goose; c. gunsel, from Old High German gans, goose; d. gonzo, from Spanish ganso, goose, from a Germanic source akin to Old High German gans, goose. a–d all from Germanic *gans- (nominative plural *gansiz). 2. gander, from Old English ganra, gandra, gander, from Germanic *gan(d)rn-. 3. gannet, from Old English ganot, gannet, from Germanic *gantn-. 4. Suffixed form *ghans-er-. anserine; merganser, from Latin nser (< *hanser), goose. 5. Basic form *ghans-. chenopod, from Greek khn, goose. (Pokorny han-s- 412.) (bartleby.com)

Hamsa border on the Kanishka casket, 2nd century CE.
Hamsa birds between the architectural spires on the
Bimaran casket, 1st century CE.
The Bimaran casket, representing the Buddha surrounded by Brahman (left) and Indra (right) was found inside a stupa with coins of Azes II inside. British Museum.


Detail of hamsa on Kanishka casket.

The edge of the lid is decorated by a frieze of flying hamsa symbolizing the travel of departing souls and the removel from samsara. Some of the geese have a wreath of victory in their beak.

Hamsa shown on the Bimaran casket.

Anjan is a Tamil synonym of hamsa. Anjani is the mother of Hanuman. Vayu is the father of Hanuman. A synonym of Hanuman is anjani-sutan. Did our ancestors know about the extraordinary respiratory capability of hamsa (anser indicus) to fly over the Himalayas?

See The High Life of Audubon birds. Bar-headed geese migrate over Mount Everest, where oxygen is scarce and life is rare. How do they survive in such conditions? http://audubonmagazine.org/birds/birds0011.html  

Kalyanaraman 18 March 2009

How Can a Bird Fly Over Mt. Everest? or How to Get Oxygen Out of the Air When There Is Hardly Any There.

Craig Black, PhD. RRT, University of Toledo Community and Technical College, Toledo, OH 43606.

Bar-headed Geese (Anser indicus) have flown over the Himalayas for thousands of years during their annual migration between their wintering grounds in India and their breeding grounds in China and Mongolia. Although many birds migrate over the Himalayas, most fly through passes at altitudes below 20,000 feet. Bar-headed Geese preferentially fly over the highest peaks and have been observed flying at over 30,000 feet. Barometric pressure at this altitude is approximately 250mmHg and the PO_{2} of dry air is only 52mmHg. If this air is inspired and humidified at the birds body temperature of 41°C, then PIO_{2} becomes 41.6mmHg, only 28% of that found at sea level. For the Bar-headed Goose, the O_{2} requirement for flight is approximately equivalent to that for a person running at maximum speed or about 12-15 times greater than basal metabolism. Normally mammals do not live above about 18,000 feet, although humans have climbed to nearly 30,000 feet without supplemental O_{2}. At this altitude, the extreme hypoxia limits their activity to no more than slow walking. Therefore, Bar-headed geese are much more efficient at extracting available O_{2} from air than any mammals.

Research has shown that Bar-headed geese have several adaptations which combine to increase the their ability to support the metabolic demands of flight at this altitude.

1. The lungs of all birds have a totally different design from that of the mammalian lung, one which allows pure inspired air to come to within only a few microns of the air-blood exchange surface. This allows the A-a gradient to be reduced to only 1-2mmHg. Mammals can reduce the A-a gradient to no less than about 30mmHg.

2. The hemoglobin of Bar-headed geese has higher than normal hemoglobin-O_{2} affinity, which shifts the Hb-O_{2} curve to the left, thereby increasing O_{2} saturation levels under hypoxic conditions.

3. The bird lung structure allows for more complete removal of CO_{2} from the blood. Flying birds may therefore have a relative alkalosis which also shifts the Hb-O_{2} dissociation curve to the left, further increasing O_{2} saturation levels under hypoxic conditions.

4. There is some evidence suggesting that Bar-headed geese are capable of increasing capillary density in muscle tissue. This decreases the diffusion distance for O_{2} from capillaries to cells, allowing the same amount of O_{2} to diffuse at a smaller partial pressure gradient.

5. Bar-headed geese can increase cerebral blood flow during hypoxia, allowing for increased O_{2} delivery to the brain.

The Himalayan Mountain range is a relatively "new" geological feature, created by the collision of two massive continental plates. Biologists suggest that Bar-headed geese actually pre-date the creation of the Himalayas and have been following the same migration route for considerably longer than the Himalayas have been present. Each year as the Himalayas were pushed higher and higher, there was selection for those individual birds which could fly at higher and higher altitudes. Thus, the Barheaded goose has become one of the most extraordinary of all high-altitude animal species.

The 44th International Respiratory Congress Abstracts-On-Disk®, November 7 - 10, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia.

Source: Respiratory care, the Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care. http://www.rcjournal.com/abstracts/1998/?id=A00000868   


Decoding some hieroglyphs of ancient Indian art tradition (14 March 2009)

1. Resources for decoding some hieroglyphs of ancient Indian art tradition at Begram, Khandagiri, Udayagiri, Kankali Tila, Bharhut, Sanchi and Mathura (pdf)


2. Hieroglyphs of ancient Indian art tradition (ppt)



Marcellus Fomation Cephalopod Fossil Image from 1896-Dana-ManGeol-Fig917


Bharhut. Makara.

Ashoka pillar. Sankisa. http://dla.library.upenn.edu

cf. SK Gupta, 1983, Elephant in Indian art and mythology, Abhinav Pub lications.Fig. 5 (Sankisa ashoka pillar)

(L. 157, 464, hāngi).
hõgiñ हाँ&above;गिञ् । शुक्तिःla-hõgiñ, s.v. kol 2); ? a snail f. a pearl-oyster shell (Śiv. 1551, 1755; Rām. 1142); the shell of any aquatic mollusc. ̈̆̈̆

Kashmiri. sang-i-sār संगि-सार् । अवहारः (सामुद्रिकजन्तुविशेषः) m. stoning (to death), lapidation (H. viii, 8); (in Ksh.) public general abuse; a shark, a water-elephant, a Gangetic crocodile (the ghaiyāl of India). 

Pali. Sanghika (adj.) [fr. sangha] belonging to, or connected with the Order Vin i.250.

Sanghin (adj.) [fr. sangha] having a crowd (of followers), the head of an order D i.47, 116; S i.68; Miln 4; DA i 143. -- sanghâsanghī (pl.) in crowds, with crowds (redupl. cpd.!), with gaṇi -- bhūtā "crowd upon crowd" at D i.112, 128; ii.317; DA i.280.

Continuity of mleccha language-community and Sarasvati hieroglyphs (19 Jan. 2009)


Mleccha-s could be related to the vratya-s of Magadha. Reference to Satvants of the Chambal valley may relate to the term, satvata, used in the pan~cara_tra tradition and vra_tya-s are associated with the people of Magadha.

"The literature is replete with the names of clans. The most powerful among them, commanding the greatest respect, was the Kuru-Pañcala, which incorporated the two families of Kuru and Puru (and the earlier Bharatas) and of which the Pañcala was a confederation of lesser-known tribes. They occupied the Upper Doab and the Kuruksetra region. In the north the Kamboja, Gandhara, and Madra groups predominated. In the middle Ganges Valley the neighbours and rivals of the Kuru-Pañcalas were the Kasi, Kosala, and Videha, who worked in close cooperation with each other. The Magadha, Anga, and Vanga peoples in the lower Ganges Valley and delta were outside the Aryan pale and regarded as mlecchas. Magadha (Patna and Gaya districts of Bihar) is also associated with the vratya people, who occupied an ambiguous position between the aryas and mlecchas. Other mleccha tribes frequently mentioned include the Satvants of the Chambal valley and, in the Vindhyan and northern Deccan region, the Andhra, Vidarbha, Nisadha, Pulinda, and Sabara. The location of all these tribes is of considerable historical interest, because they gave their names to the geographic area."




This leads to the formulation of two hypotheses:

1. A cooperative society and a continuous culture had existed right from the chalcolithic- age through the bronze-age to the historical periods on the Sarasvati-Sindhu doab and the rest of India. 2. A linguistic area existed ca. 3rd millennium BCE in Sarasvati-Ganga valleys.

Emergence of lingua franca in Bharat


Pinnow map. Austroasiatic Languages: Munda (Eastern India) and Mon-Khmer (NE India, mainland SE Asia, Malaysia, Nicobars)


A lingua franca had emerged in the doab ca. 3000 BCE with intense interaction and resultant cross-borrowings of lexemes of an expansive contact

zone (from Tigris-Euphrates to Ganga, from the Caucus mountains to the Gulf of Khambat, from Kashmir to Kanya_kumari) constituting the Sarasvati-Sindhu doab and the rest of Bha_rata as an Bha_rati_ya Linguistic Area.

The assumption for establishing this concordance among lexemes removed in time, by over 1 millennium, is that the names of the arms and armour of the linguistic area, ca. 5500 BP continued, as parole, in the ancient languages of Bharat, by a hereditary tradition nurtured among the artisans (vis'vakarma) and warriors (ks.atriya) alike and by the literary tradition of Dhanurveda Sam.hita_ and related texts.

The areal map of Austric (Austro-Asiatic languages) showing regions marked by Pinnow correlates with the bronze age settlements in Bharatam or what came to be known during the British colonial regime as ‘Greater India’. The bronze age sites extend from Mehrgarh-Harappa (Meluhha) on the west to Kayatha-Navdatoli (Nahali) close to River Narmada to Koldihwa-Khairdih-Chirand on Ganga river basin to Mahisadal – Pandu Rajar Dhibi in Jharia mines close to Mundari area and into the east extending into Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nicobar islands. A settlement of Inamgaon is shown on the banks of River Godavari.

This, together with the islands in Balochistan, Amri-Nal on the Makran coast and settlements in the Rann of Kutch and Gujarat , broadly corresponds to the Bharatiya Language Community of mleccha-speakers. Mleccha as island-dwellers !

Bronze Age sites of eastern Bha_rata and neighbouring areas: 1. Koldihwa; 2. Khairdih; 3. Chirand; 4. Mahisadal; 5. Pandu Rajar Dhibi; 6. Mehrgarh; 7. Harappa; 8. Mohenjo-daro; 9. Ahar; 10. Kayatha; 11. Navdatoli; 12. Inamgaon; 13. Non Pa Wai; 14. Nong Nor; 15. Ban Na Di and Ban Chiang; 16. Non Nok Tha; 17. Thanh Den; 18. Shizhaishan; 19. Ban Don Ta Phet [After Fig. 8.1 in: Charles Higham, 1996, The Bronze Age of Southeast Asia, Cambridge University Press].

Ca.2000 BC, there were movements of people in search of minerals and metals. From Meluhha, there were copper mining and smelting expeditions to Oman. At Namazga IV-V (Turkmenia), a number of alloys were experimented with. (Kohl, P., 1984, Central Asia: palaeolithic beginnings to the Iron age, Paris, Editions Recherchedes Civilisations, p. 113, 169; Harappan artefacts are found at Altyn-depe in the latest levels; the suggestion is that 'contact was strongest on the eve of the collapse of the site').  At Hissar were found arsenic-bronze, lead-bronze, lead, silver and gold. (Tepe Hissar III, 3rd millennium BCE.: a seal shows a four-spoke wheel). Jarrige reports the find of a vented furnace at Sibri. On the Baluchistan and Afghanistan border, Dales found 'miles of slag and furnaces' (Dales, G.F., 1973, Archaeological and Radioactive chronologies for protohistoric south Asia, in: South Asian Archaeology, N. Hammond ed., London, Duckworth, p. 167).

The resource base is verily the nidhi of bharatiya bhashaa jnaana which can guide us to pursue studies in the evolutionary history related to every bharatiya language. It is apposite to record a tribute to the late Sudhibhushan Bhattacharya who initiated studies on Munda etymology , to the late Kuiper for his work on Nahali  etymology and to the work of Norman Zide on Munda numerals. See full bibliography at http://www.ling.hawaii.edu/faculty/stampe/AA/Munda/BIBLIO/biblio.authors

When the River Sarasvati_ got desiccated between ca. 3900 and 3500 BP, many people of the River Basin moved into the Ganga-Yamuna doab and south of Gujarat to the Godavari River Basin and further south along the coast of Sindhu Sa_gara (Arabian Sea) and also moved west of Ga_ndha_ra in Afghanistan, resulting in the naming of a small river as Haraquaiti, in remembrance of River Sarasvati. Similar instances of cherishing the legacy of River Sarasvati are noticed in the naming of rivers near Pus.kar (Ajmer), and near Little of Rann of Kutch (Siddhapura) also as Sarasvati. The mother who nourished the forefathers of many Bha_rati_yas could not be forgotten. When a mother prays to river godesses, she invokes the names of Gan:ga_, Yamuna_, Sarasvati_; when she goes to a ti_rthaya_tra and notices a san:gamam of two rivers, she learns from the folklore and folk traditions, that the san:gamam is triven.i, the third river being the antahsalila_ Sarasvati_ (the Sarasvati_ which flows underground). The sthala pura_n.a of the Sarasvati_ temple at Basara (Vya_sapura) on the banks of River Godavari (near Adilabad district, Andhra Pradesh) states that the mu_rti of Sarasvati_ was made by Vya_sa taking three mus.t.is (hand-fuls) of sand from the river bed. There is also a temple for Sarasvati_ on the banks of Cauvery in Ku_ttanu_r, near Swa_mimalai (the pilgrimage centre for E_raka Subrahman.ya, Ka_rttikeya). The formation of these hypotheses is a plea for unraveling further the as yet untold story of the formation of Bharatiya languages, as an exercise in general semantics.

Epigraph Discovery Sites and Epigraphs held in Museums







Bet Dwaraka






Gharo Bhiro (Nuhato)






















Prabhas Patan (Somnath)












Tarakai Qila

Unknown Provenance

Museum Guimet, France

Harappa 1993-95 excavations

Proto-elamite glyptics

Mohenjodaro: other objects

West Asia

Near East

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Tell Suleimah, Iraq

Pierport Morgan Library, New York

Tell Asmar (Eshnunna), Iraq

Gulf states

Early Harappan bowl with ‘fish’ glyph



Saharanpur, Western Uttar Pradesh

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Nausharo and other sites

Inscribed objects from Harappa 2000-2001

Manuscripts in Schoyen Collection

Parallels from Mesopotamia (and Anatolia)

Shaft-hole axhead (Bactria-Margiana)

Anatolia and the Caucasus

Bulla-envelope, Adab, Sumer

Royal Ontario Museum

Burdin Fine Arts Exhibition

Steatite seals in the British Museum

Hieroglyphs and frequencies of occurrence on Sarasvati epigraphs


One-horned heifer with a pannier   1159 + 5 (with two horns)

Standard device

19 + ca. 1100 occurrences in front of the one-horned heifer


Shor-horned bull                            95 +2 (in opposition)

Zebu or Bra_hman.i bull                 54

Buffalo                                            14

Elephant                                         55 + 1 (horned)

Tiger (including tiger looking back) 16 + 5 (horned)

Boar                                               39 + 1 (in opposition)

Goat-antelope                                36 + 1 (flanking a tree)

Ox-antelope                                   26

Hare                                               10 +1 (object shaped like hare)

Ligatured animal                            41

Alligator                                          49

Fish                                                14 (objects shaped like fish); fish also a sign

Frog                                                1

Serpent                                          10

Tree                                                34 + 1 (leaves)

Dotted circle                                   67


Svastika                                         23

Endless-knot                                    4

Double-axe                                    14 (inscribed objects shaped like axe)


Rimmed narrow-necked jar            1395

Fish signs                                       1241

Leaf signs                                       100

Spoked wheel                                203

Cart frame + wheels                      26

Sprout (or, tree stylized)                800

Water-carrier                                  220

Scorpion                                         106

Claws (of crab)                               130 + 90 (shaped like pincers)

Arrow (spear)                                 227

Rimless, wide-mouthed pot            350


(Fig. 20 in Michael Pieter Kovink, 2008, The Indus script -- a positional-statistical approach, USA, Gilund Press, ISBN 978-0-6151-8239-1showing varieties of fish signs and positional sequencing on epigraphs.)

ken.t.a ‘fish’; ke~r.e~ brass or bell-metal

ayo, hako 'fish'; a~s = scales of fish (Santali); rebus: aya = iron (G.); ayah, ayas = metal (Skt.)

Fully hieroglyptic nature of the writing system (mlecchita vikalpa) is presented with examples of pictorial motifs and signs used on epigraphs and with intimations of continuing tradition of glyphs on punch-marked coin devices.

Hieroglyph sign list (Mahadevan + variants), Sign list of Tuomo Saarikivi and Bertil Tikkanen