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Old January 15th, 2012, 01:31 PM   #1

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'Artifact' Mystery


Hello,

This was posted on another forum with a request to identify its contents and cultural provenance (perhaps also its age.)

It is suspected to be at least 40 years old, probably printed. Any help would be appreciated.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old January 15th, 2012, 01:36 PM   #2

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiaitaDoc View Post
Hello,

This was posted on another forum with a request to identify its contents and cultural provenance (perhaps also its age.)

It is suspected to be at least 40 years old, probably printed. Any help would be appreciated.

Click the image to open in full size.

Indian?
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Old January 15th, 2012, 01:39 PM   #3

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I see Shivas and a Zodiac, that's about it. I can't read Hindi, but it does seem to be written right to left. I am not printer, but it sort of looks like it was pressed, as it sort of looks like the ink is peppering off. I don't really know.


If it helps, those orange blots might not be a part of the paper but rather a sort of acid deterioration. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid-free_paper
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Old January 15th, 2012, 01:56 PM   #4

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In some way it reminds me Nepali Tankas [but the exemplar I bought in Kathmandu was more colored, with black background].

Note that "tanka" can be written "thangka" or "thanka".

P.S. regarding age, if it is a thangka, I would need to make some further research about the usage of some symbols and shapes [which reminds also mandala].

Last edited by AlpinLuke; January 15th, 2012 at 02:07 PM. Reason: Adding information about spelling
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Old January 15th, 2012, 02:38 PM   #5

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A few extra "knowns":

1. It was found in China.

2. The Zodiac corresponds to the Chinese Zodiac
(Rat Ox Tiger Rabbit Dragon Snake Horse Goat Monkey Rooster Dog Pig)

3. The ring of symbols inside the Zodiac corresponds to the Chinese BaGua/PaKua (8 trigrams, specifically the "later heaven" sequence.) The same sequence appears in the lower left corner.

4. The inner square, divided into 9, may (or may not) be a "Magic Square" containing the numbers One to Nine, with each column, row and diagonal adding up to Fifteen. This might be a good place to start figuring out the writing language being used.

5. The flaming animal encircling the Zodiac appears to be a dragon.


Current "Unknowns":

1. The written language

2. The identities of the four impaled demons(?) around the Zodiac ring

3. The identities of the three deities at the top of the document (T: Shiva? R: Buddha? L: ????)

4. The top left and right squares (Top left appears to be a stylized character; top right, a 3x3 box of text, perhaps relating the 3x3 box in the centre of the Zodiac ring)

5. The side left and right boxes (Possibly pictorial representations of the Trigrams?)

6. The column of symbols directly below the Zodiac Ring (totally unknown to me)

7. The bottom left and right circles (The left perhaps explains the trigrams, the right, I have no idea)


So a lot of the symbols appear Daoist, some appear Buddhist, some possibly even Hindu, but the writing is not "Chinese." I'm still not sure whether the document is Chinese, even though it was found there (Sorry, I don't know what part of China it was found in.)
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Old January 15th, 2012, 02:46 PM   #6

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If you look at the author, vertically written on the right hand side, towards the bottom, it looks like.

T. Muni

Would that have any relation to this?

Narada Narada


Muni appears to be some sort of common term for a sage, or a oneness, or a being of spirituality.

http://vedabase.net/m/muni


So, maybe the language is Sanskrit?


If that is the case, then maybe it is a mix of Jainism, Buddism and Hinduism?

Quote:
Sanskrit (संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam [sə̃skɹ̩t̪əm], originally संस्कृता वाक् saṃskṛtā vāk, "refined speech"), is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.

Last edited by MrKap; January 15th, 2012 at 02:58 PM.
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Old January 15th, 2012, 02:59 PM   #7

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If it comes from Chinese Tibet the hypothesis of the thangka could be an answer, that form of art [including sometime also astrological aspects like the zodiac] was known.

Thangka Painting (I) « Interact China
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Old January 15th, 2012, 07:56 PM   #8

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Tibetan sounds about right, although I'm not sure I see the relationship to a thangka - unless it's meant as a printed representation of a really complex one?

Anyway, I checked the Tibetan number system, and it corresponds to what I thought were the numbers in the magic square at the centre of the zodiac ring:

Click the image to open in full size.

The numbers in the magic square are ordered

4 9 2
3 5 7
8 1 6

Taking into account basic "font" differences, the numbers are definitely Tibetan - which means the rest of the text may be Tibetan as well.
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Old January 15th, 2012, 08:00 PM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrKap View Post
If you look at the author, vertically written on the right hand side, towards the bottom, it looks like.

T. Muni

Would that have any relation to this?

Narada - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Muni appears to be some sort of common term for a sage, or a oneness, or a being of spirituality.
Nice find!

T. Muni... interesting that it's in a latin script.

I wonder what the T. stands for. Tibetan?
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Old January 15th, 2012, 08:03 PM   #10

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So, I looked up in the wiki...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan...on_of_Sanskrit


Quote:
The Sanskrit "cerebral" (retroflex) consonants ट ठ ड ण ष (ṭa, ṭha, ḍa, ṇa, ṣa) are represented by the reversing the letters ཏ ཐ ད ན ཤ (ta, tha, da, na, sha) to give ཊ ཋ ཌ ཎ ཥ (Ta, Tha, Da, Na, Sa).
It is a classic rule to transliterate च छ ज झ (ca cha ja jha) to ཙ ཚ ཛ ཛྷ (tsa tsha dza dzha), respectively. Nowadays, ཅ ཆ ཇ ཇྷ (ca cha ja jha) can also be used.
On the bottom row of your image, you might find, ཏ
Which is not reversed, so maybe it's not far off?

It really does look like it is written right to left though, I am not really sure, but they say Tibetian is written Left to Right, so I don't know what branch it could be, It could be written left to right, I don't really know...

Last edited by MrKap; January 15th, 2012 at 08:10 PM.
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