Fundamental research on the texts of Naxi Dongba script – Extraction of a framework based on frequency of appearance of pictographs

Fundamental research on the texts of Naxi Dongba script – Extraction of a framework based on frequency of appearance of pictographs

Naomichi KUROSAWA(黑泽直道)日本国学院大学

The ritual texts used in the religion of the Naxi people are written in a distinct script known as “Dongba script”, which is both written in and read by Naxi priests, themselves known as “Dongba”. Dongba pictographs do not fully correspond to language elements such as phonemes, syllables, morphemes and words, and are highly indefinite. Hence, it has been held that only Dongba priests who had memorized the content of Dongba ritual texts were capable of reading them.

However, by comparing the pictographs of a number of ritual texts, inscribed with the same content, it is evident that within the script there are both definite pictographs, which are inscribed in nearly all of the texts, and indefinite pictographs, which appear in only a few texts. Furthermore, in most cases, definite pictographs are those representing nouns or proper nouns. In contrast, indefinite pictographs are often phonetic-equivalent characters that use other pictographs of different meaning but the same pronunciation. When the indefinite pictographs are removed from a given text to leave just the definite ones, what remains is the framework of the text. It is possible that a hypothesis of a framework for ritual texts will assist in discerning the content of texts collected by researchers and explorers that now lie dormant in libraries and research institutions worldwide and that have not come to light through Dongba priests’ recitations and transcription by scholars.

In this research, pictographs appearing in nine texts found in the beginning of the Naxi creation myth “Coq bber tv” are classified into definite and indefinite groups on the basis of frequency of appearance within the texts, and a framework showing the definite pictographs only is extracted. There then follows a brief discussion of the meanings of this framework.

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Questo inserimento è stato pubblicato in Kunming 2009, New Horizons in Naxi Study e il tag , , , , , , , , . Metti un segnalibro su permalink. Inserisci un commento o lascia un trackback: Trackback URL.

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