Friday, October 25, 2013

Meluhha – A visible language: New book by Dr S. Kalyanaraman


  • Paperback: 812 pages $37.91
  • KIndle eBook
  • Publisher: Sarasvati Research Center (October 20, 2013)
  • Language: English 
  • ISBN-10: 0991104811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0991104819

The new book is a game-changer in civilization studies, spanning over 6 millennia of peoples' history. It heralds a hermeneutics paradigm shift and contributes to a high resolution understanding of history of civilizations, in general and of art, language, writing and literature studies of Ancient Near East and India, in particular at the dawn of bronze-age, ca. 5th millennium BCE.

Some unique contributions made by the book include:

  • Identification of semantics of Meluhha language firmly linking two great inventions: invention of tin-bronzes and invention of writing systems
  • Matching archaeologically attested artifacts with interpreted/translated inscriptions
  • Application of the cipher of the writing system to hundreds of inscriptions
  • Matching the semantics of Meluhha with the metallurgical developments of Bronze-age
  • Contributions to hermeneutics translating and interpreting hundreds of glyphs which uniquely define the religious and cultural contexts of interacting regions of Sumer, Elam, Mesopotamia, Dilmun, Magan and Meluhha
  • Contributions to appreciation of unique art forms of the Bronze-age
  • Presenting a framework for understanding the evolution from tokens/bullae into writing systems on tablets and square-circular-cylinder seals
  • Evaluation of the transition of lapidaries (working with large stones used in architecture and semi-precious stones for beads) into artisans working with minerals, metals and alloys
  • Intimations of guilds of artificers and trade transactions of jangad, invoices on entrustment basis as trust transactions among merchants
  • Presenting relationships of kharosti script with harosheth hagoyim, 'smithy of nations'; of anzu of Tocharian with amsu (Soma) of Rgveda
  • Idetifying the cultural continuum from bronze-age through historical periods in the forms of ziggurat as temples, in celebration of the morning sun described in Sit Shamshi bronze, rebus readings of hieroglyphs on Warka vase and Susa ritual basins, of hieroglyphs on Shahdad Standard, Dholavira signboard, on the procession tablets of Mohenjo-daro, on metallic plates and implements such as snarling iron of Chanhu-daro, on pure tin ingots of a shipwreck in Haifa
  • Re-evaluating the stellar contributions made in archaeo-metallurgical studies with links to Meluhha texts recording supply sources of alloying minerals such as tin and zinc
  • Commending further archaeological work on the Stupa mound of Mohenjo-daro hypothesizing it to be an ancient ziggurat and further language studies to take the delineation of Meluhha beyond semantics into phonology, morphology, and comparative studies with Indo-European languages and Prakrits, to delineate the functions of chandas and chronology studies related to Munda words in Sanskrit and formation of Indiansprachbund and to study the formation of many Indian languages on the lines of Jules Bloch's study on the Formation of Marathi language
  • Presenting Indus script corpora of over 7000 inscriptions and an Indian Lexicon (over 2000 pages) as a comparative semantic clustering from over 25 languages of Indian sprachbund

This monumental book is a master-piece in world literature, theory of knowledge, Vedic hermeneutics and boundaries of the sacred, transcending language boundaries. It makes path-breaking insights to understanding links of peoples' life-activities with language, art and written communication for 3 millennia from ca 4th millennium BCE. The change in paradigm of art appreciation is hermeneutics -- hermeneuo, 'translate' or 'interpret' -- of ancient texts. The book shows most of the early art forms and symbols not as abstractions but founded on underlying, meaningful speech and as innovations to match artificers' inventions, which define the transition from chalcolithic age to bronze age, particularly in the Ancient Near East.

Masterpieces of bronze-age art demonstrate Meluhha semantics. This is a tribute to the artisans of the Bronze-age Indo-Eurasia who laid the foundations for 1) an industrial revolution with the invention of tin-bronzes and brass and 2) a cultural revolution with the invention of writing systems. The glyphs of early writing systems of Bronze-age in Ancient Near East, represent a visible language of Meluhha. A synonym of 'visible language' is 'incised speech' takṣat vāk, (a metaphor used in what is possibly the oldest human document, the Ṛgveda.) It is likely that many unique pictorial motifs on cylinder seals of contact areas of Sumer-Elam-Mesopotamia were inspired by the Meluhha cipher since some hieroglyphs used in a metallurgy-lapidary context are also used in the contact areas, together with cuneiform texts. This calls for a re-evaluation of some art-historians' interpretation of some symbols explained in astronomical or religious contexts. Homonymous glosses matching the glyphs explain the semantics of Meluhha. The writing systems were intended to document trade and workshop processes of the bronze-age merchants, smiths and lapidaries. This context is exemplified by two terms used in ancient texts naming writing systems: 

1. mlecchita vikalpa  (cipher of mleccha/meluhha), a term attesed ca. 6th century BCE byVātsyāyana; 

2. kharoṣṭī  (cognate harosheth hagoyim, 'smithy of nations'). 

The writing systems on cylinder seals of Sumer-Elam-Mesopotamia and on Indus script corpora are based on rebus method -- rendering mleccha language metallurgy-related or bronze-age workshop-related sememes. Such sememes are attested in many languages of Indian  sprachbund  providing a framework to outlinine features of mleccha (Meluhha) language of artisans/traders of Bronze-age. Meluhha were sea-faring merchants and artisans working in tin, zinc, copper and other bronze-age alloying minerals (attested in cuneiform texts). Meluhha settlements are also attested in Ancient Near East archaeology.  Meluhha Smithy (kole.l) denotes the divine space, a temple (kole.l). Implements produced in a smithy and repertoire of a smithy denote attributes of the divine. This world-view of Meluhha is discerned from hundreds of cylinder seals with hundreds of hieroglyphs – as visible language or incised Meluhha speech. A list of Meluhha glosses evidenced in Indiansprachbund  is presented. A list of languages and dialects listed in Indo-Aryan, Dravidian and Munda lexicons annexed to the list constitutes a resource base for identifying and clustering semantics of Meluhha. The intimations of semantics conveyed by Meluhha cipher should be augmented by further language explorations and studies to detail the grammatical features of Meluhha/mleccha language. Such studies could be on the lines of Jules Bloch's La formation de la Langue Marathe and of Prakrit grammars.  

apūrvyā purustamanyasmai mahe vīrāya tavase turāya; viripśane vajriṇe śantamāni vacāmsyāsāsthavīrāya takṣam (RV. VI.32.1) Trans.: a seer has composed, inscribed, unprecedented, comprehensive and gratifying praises for the mighty Indra. The word takṣam  is a reference to the metaphor of incised speech. The composers of the chandas, our ancestors, are artisans, architects, inquirers par excellence.

The argument: hieroglyphs for a catalog of a smithy/forge

Provenience: Khafaje Kh. VII 256 Jemdet Nasr (ca. 3000 - 2800 BCE) Frankfort, Henri: Stratified Cylinder Seals from the Diyala Region. Oriental Institute Publications 72. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, no. 34. Mythological scene: tailless lion or bear standing erect behind tree; two goats feeding at other side of tree; another tree, with bird in branches, behind monster; three-lowered buildings with door at left side; watercourse along bottom of scene. Gray limestone. 4.1x3.5cm.[i]

The cylinder seal is a catalog of a smithy: copper, iron alloy smith, turner, hard alloy metal tools, pots and pans.

The two animals are: markhor, antelope. miṇḍāl 'markhor' (Tōrwālī) meḍho a ram, a sheep (Gujarati)(CDIAL 10120); rebus: mẽṛhẽt, meḍ 'iron' (Munda.Ho.) mr̤eka, melh 'goat' (Telugu. Brahui) Rebus: melukkha 'milakkha, copper'.

करडणें or करंडणें [ karaḍaṇē or ṅkaraṇḍaṇēṃ ] v c To gnaw or nibble; to wear away by biting (Marathi). Rebus: karaḍa 'hard alloy'.  karaḍa 'duck' Rebus: karaḍa 'hard alloy' karaḍa 'wave' Rebus: karaḍa 'hard alloy' karaḍa  'panther' Rebus: karaḍa 'hard alloy'. khōṇḍa 'leafless tree' (Marathi). Rebus: kõdā'turner' (Bengali) kole.l 'temple' Rebus: kole.l 'smithy'. khōṇḍa A tree of which the head and branches are broken off, a stock or stump: also the lower portion of the trunk—that below the branches. (Marathi) Rebus 1: kõdā 'to turn in a lathe' (Bengali) Rebus 2: koḍ 'workshop' (Gujarati) Glyh of flowing water: kāṇḍa 'flowing water' Rebus: kāṇḍā 'metalware, tools, pots and pans'.Thus, the entire hieroglyphic composition of the cylinder seal is a smithy catalog:  

 'nibbling' karaḍa  'duck' karaḍa 'wave' karaḍa  'panther' all connoting reinforcing, Rebus: karaḍa 'hard alloy'  and work of kõdā'turner' in kole.l 'smithy, temple' producing: kāṇḍā 'metalware, tools, pots and pans'.

Two goats eating from a tree on a mountaintop in proto-Elamite seals from Mundigak and Susa. After Amiet, P., 1961, La glyptique mesopotamienne archaique, Paris: 497; Mundigak IV.3; 3.
Plate 65. Fig. 701 in: Frankfort, H., Univ. of Chicago, Oriental Institute, Vol. LXXII, Stratified cylinder seals from the Diyala Region, Illinoi, Univ. of Chicago Press.[ii]

Lid of a pyxis with mistress of the animal 13th cent. BCE Minet et Beida, port of Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), Syria The Levant Elephant ivory D. 13.7 cm. Th. 12 cm allocated to the Louvre after the Schaeffer excavation, 1929 AO 11601 Near Eastern Antiquities. The Mistress of the Animals "This lid forms a circular scene. In the center, a female figure is holding out ears of corn to two wild goats standing on their hind legs. Many works of art from Greece and the Levant depict female figures dominating wild or tame animals. Such scenes, which might at first glance appear to be straightforward depictions of female goatherds, are in fact generally understood as expressions of a belief in the symbolic powers of nature. A smiling young woman, her arms bent symetrically on either side of her chest, is holding out ears of corn that the two goats are nuzzling. Her profile, with the nose a continuation of the line of the forehead and her hair arranged in curls, is reminiscent of works from Crete and Santorini, as is the band with a spiral at the center of her forehead and the long wavy lock of hair at the top of her head. The costume is also pre-Hellenistic in inspiration. Her breasts are bare and she is wearing a necklace and a loose skirt made of decorated panels. She is shown sitting on a small stepped stool. Her legs are in profile, but her torso is shown face-on. The step on the right is hidden by a notched cone, on which the goat is resting its right foreleg. There is a similar object beside the goat on the left side. It is not clear what these objects represent. They may be stylized rocks like the one the young woman is sitting on, which is likewise full of holes. The entire scene was originally ringed with a decorative trim of overlapping scales. The two goats are mirror images of each other, standing on their hind legs as if in the act of stepping forward. They each have one front hoof on a cone of rock, the other close to the woman's elbow. Their bodies are powerful and slender, and the hooves are carefully detailed. Their beards are pointing forward, and their mouths are open, ready to eat the ears of corn…This disk was originally the lid of a cylindrical box made from an elephant tusk. The lid was cut out of a slice sawn vertically from the pointed end of the tusk. The box was cut from the thicker end of the tusk where there is a natural cavity containing the dental pulp tissue. The artists of Ugarit were experts in carving ivory from both elephants and hippopotamuses to produce all sorts of precious objects, such as powder boxes (round like this one or in the shape of a duck), combs, spindles, musical instruments, and parts of pieces of furniture. Elephant tusks and hippopotamus teeth were shipped in from Africa and Egypt across the Mediterranean, as proved by the cargo found in a ship wrecked off the coast of Turkey some time during the thirteenth century BCE".[iii]

Alchemical tradition of symbols, Philosopher's stone

he glyptic compositions exemplified by the bronze-age artisans on hundreds of cylinder seals, sculptural friezes and a myriad metal and stone objects continue in the alchemical tradition associating mysteries and esoteric meanings to the symbols with particular reference to materials used in the alchemical experiments for transmutation of base metal into gold or electrum. Excerpts from a remarkable webpage of University of Delaware are appended to provide a backdrop to alternative explanations of symbols.

In the context of the bronze age, startin circa 5th millennium BCE in the ancient Near East, many symbols are explained as rebus renderings of Meluhha speech. There are certain intimations associating symbols to identify divinities as noted by art historians, Sumerologists and Assyriologists.

As we traverse the sacred space of hieroglyphs, transcentind the mists of time dating back to several millennia, we are left with awe and admiration for our ancestors who have attempted to convey the knowledge gained them working with minerals, creating new alloys and making tools and implements which transformed human life on the planet.

The arguments of the Philosopher's stone will continue to fascinate the way Newton was fascinated by alchemical processes. Skirting such an excursus into  philosophical inquiries, arguments will be intertwined with the pictographic evidences and the memories embedded in the abiding evidence of language evolution – some select glosses of Meluhha. That such a visible language called Meluhha existed is the crux of the falsifiable theory tested with glyptic evidence.

The argument: presenting hard alloys/smithy repertoire as hieroglyphs of Meluhha

Cylinder seal. Uruk, southern Iraq About 3200-3100 BCE. Two 'safflower' hieroglyphs are shown in the field. The 'safflower' glyph adorns the Ashurbanipal reliefs of 9th century BCE. खांबोटी [ khāmbōṭī ] f (Dim. of खांब) A short post, a stanchion. kampaṭṭa 'mint, coiner'. मेंढा [ mēṇḍhā ] A crook or curved end (of a stick) Rebus: meḍ 'iron'. ēraka  a reed (Pali) Rebus: eraka 'copper'.
karaḍa -- m. ʻsafflowerʼ, °ḍā -- f. ʻ a tree like the karañja ʼ (Prakrit); M. karḍī°ḍaī f. ʻ safflower, carthamus tinctorius and its seed ʼ. (CDIAL 2788). Rebus: करडा [karaḍā] Hard from alloy--iron, silver &c. (Marathi)  kharādī ' turner, a person who fashions or shapes objects on a lathe' (Gujarati)  mr̤eka 'goat'. Rebus: milakkhu 'copper'. kã̄ḍ reed Rebus: kāṇḍa 'tools, pots and pans, metal-ware'.  dhaṭu  m.  (also dhaṭhu)  m. 'scarf'  (WPah.) Rebus: dhatu 'mineral (ore)'. मेंढा mēṇḍhā 'sheep' मेंढा 'shepherd' मेढ  mēḍha 'stick, stake or post.' Rebus: meḍ 'iron'.

Hieroglyphs read rebus in Meluhha: safflower (karaḍa  hard alloy), goat (mr̤ekamilakkhu  copper  ), scarf [dhatu minerals (ore)], reed (eraka copper), stake (kã̄ḍ kampaṭṭa  metal-ware, mint), shepherd (mēḍ iron).

Cylinder seal with kneeling nude heroes, ca. 2220–2159 b.c.; Akkadian  Mesopotamia Red jasper H. 1 1/8 in. (2.8 cm), Diam. 5/8 in. (1.6 cm)  Metropolitan Museum of Art - USA 
Four flag-posts(reeds) with rings on top held by the kneeling persons define the four components of the iron smithy/forge.  This is an announcement of four shops, पेढी (Gujarati. Marathi). पेंढें 'rings' Rebus: पेढी 'shop'.āra 'serpent' Rebus; āra 'brass'. karaḍa 'double-drum' Rebus: karaḍa 'hard alloy'.

Specific materials offered for sale/exchange in the shop are: hard alloy brass metal (ayo, fish); lokhaṇḍ (overflowing pot) 'metal tools, pots and pans, metalware'; arka/erka   'copper'; kammaṭa (a portable furnace for melting precious metals) 'coiner, mint'  Thus, the four shops are: 1. brass alloys, 2. metalware, 3. copper and 4. mint (services).

erãguḍu bowing, salutation (Telugu) iṟai (-v-, -nt-) to bow before (as in salutation), worship (Tamil)(DEDR 516). Rebus: eraka, eṟaka any metal infusion (Kannada.Tulu) eruvai 'copper' (Tamil); ere dark red (Kannada)(DEDR 446).

puṭa Anything folded or doubled so as to form a cup or concavity; crucible. Alternative: ḍhālako = a large metal ingot (G.) ḍhālakī = a metal heated and poured into a mould; a solid piece of metal; an ingot (Gujarati)

Allograph: ढाल [ ḍhāla ] f (S through H) The grand flag of an army directing its march and encampments: also the standard or banner of a chieftain: also a flag flying on forts &c. ढालकाठी [ ḍhālakāṭhī ] f ढालखांब m A flagstaff; esp.the pole for a grand flag or standard. 2 fig. The leading and sustaining member of a household or other commonwealth. 5583 ḍhāla n. ʻ shield ʼ lex. 2. *ḍhāllā -- . 1. Tir. (Leech) "dàl" ʻ shield ʼ, Bshk. ḍāl, Ku. ḍhāl, gng. ḍhāw, N. A. B. ḍhāl, Or. ḍhāḷa, Mth. H. ḍhāl m.2. Sh. ḍal (pl. °le̯) f., K. ḍāl f., S. ḍhāla, L. ḍhāl (pl. °lã) f., P. ḍhāl f., G. M. ḍhāl f. WPah.kṭg. (kc.) ḍhāˋl f. (obl. -- a) ʻ shield ʼ (a word used in salutation), J. ḍhāl f. (CDIAL 5583).

They are four Glyphs: paṭākā 'flag' Rebus: pāṭaka, four quarters of the village.

kã̄ḍ reed Rebus: kāṇḍa 'tools, pots and pans, metal-ware'. 

1. Pk. kamaḍha -- , °aya -- m. ʻ bamboo ʼ; Bhoj. kōro ʻ bamboo poles ʼ. 2. N. kāmro ʻ bamboo, lath, piece of wood ʼ, OAw.  kāṁvari ʻ bamboo pole with slings at each end for carrying things ʼ, H. kã̄waṛ°arkāwaṛ°ar f., G. kāvaṛf., M. kāvaḍ f.; -- deriv. Pk. kāvaḍia -- , kavvāḍia -- m. ʻ one who carries a yoke ʼ, H. kã̄waṛī°ṛiyā m., G. kāvaṛiyɔ m. 3. S. kāvāṭhī f. ʻ carrying pole ʼ, kāvāṭhyo m. ʻ the man who carries it ʼ. 4. Or. kāmaṛā°muṛā ʻ rafters of a thatched house ʼ; G. kāmṛũ n., °ṛī f. ʻ chip of bamboo ʼ, kāmaṛ -- koṭiyũ n. ʻ bamboo hut ʼ. 5. B. kāmṭhā ʻ bow ʼ, G. kāmṭhũ n., °ṭhī f. ʻ bow ʼ; M. kamṭhā°ṭā m. ʻ bow of bamboo or horn ʼ; -- deriv. G. kāmṭhiyɔ m. ʻ archer ʼ. 6. A. kabāri ʻ flat piece of bamboo used in smoothing an earthen image ʼ. 7. kã̄bīṭ°baṭ°bṭī,  kāmīṭ°maṭ°mṭī,  kāmṭhīkāmāṭhī f. ʻ split piece of bamboo &c., lath ʼ.(CDIAL 2760). kambi f. ʻ branch or shoot of bamboo ʼ lex. Pk. kaṁbi -- , °bī -- , °bā -- f. ʻ stick, twig ʼ, OG. kāṁba; M. kã̄b f. ʻ longitudinal division of a bamboo &c., bar of iron or other metal ʼ. (CDIAL 2774). कंबडी [ kambaḍī ] f A slip or split piece (of a bamboo &c.)(Marathi)

The rings atop the reed standard: पेंढें [ pēṇḍhēṃ ] पेंडकें [ pēṇḍakēṃ ] n Weaver's term. A cord-loop or metal ring (as attached to the गुलडा of the बैली and to certain other fixtures). पेंडें [ pēṇḍēṃ ] n (पेड) A necklace composed of strings of pearls. 2 A loop or ring. Rebus: पेढी (Gujaráthí word.) A shop (Marathi) Alternative: koṭiyum [koṭ, koṭī  neck] a wooden circle put round the neck of an animal (Gujarati) Rebus: ācāri koṭṭya = forge, kammārasāle (Tulu)

The four hieroglyphs define the four quarters of the village smithy/forge: alloy, metalware, turner's lathe-work, cruble (or, ingot).

ayo 'fish' Rebus: ayo 'metal, alloy'

కాండము [ kāṇḍamu ] kānḍamu. [Skt.] n. Water. నీళ్లు (Telugu) kaṇṭhá -- : (b) ʻ water -- channel ʼ: Paš. kaṭāˊ ʻ irrigation channel ʼ, Shum. xãṭṭä. (CDIAL 14349).

lokhãḍ 'overflowing pot' Rebus:  ʻtools, iron, ironwareʼ (Gujarati)

arká1 m. ʻ flash, ray, sun ʼ RV. [√arc] Pa. Pk. akka -- m. ʻ sun ʼ, Mth. āk; Si. aka ʻ lightning ʼ, inscr. vid -- äki ʻ lightning flash ʼ.(CDIAL 624) அருக்கன் arukkaṉ, n. < arka. Sun; சூரி யன். அருக்க னணிநிறமுங் கண்டேன் (திவ். இயற். 3, 1).(Tamil) agasāle 'goldsmithy' (Kannada) అగసాలి [ agasāli ] or అగసాలెవాడు agasāli. n. A goldsmith. కంసాలివాడు. (Telugu) erka = ekke (Tbh. of arka) aka (Tbh. of arka) copper (metal); crystal (Kannada) cf. eruvai = copper (Tamil) eraka, er-aka = any metal infusion (Ka.Tu.); erako molten cast (Tulu) Rebus: eraka = copper (Ka.) eruvai = copper (Ta.); ere - a dark-red colour (Ka.)(DEDR 817). eraka, era, er-a = syn. erka, copper, weapons (Ka.) erka = ekke (Tbh. of arka) aka (Tbh. of arka) copper (metal); crystal (Kannada) akka, aka (Tadbhava of arka) metal; akka metal (Te.) arka = copper (Skt.) erako molten cast (Tulu) 

Alternative: kunda 'jasmine flower' Rebus: kunda ʻa turner's latheʼ. kundaṇa pure gold. 
The image could denote a crucible or a portable furnace: kammaṭa 'coiner, mint, a portable furnace for melting precious metals (Telugu) On some cylinder seals, this image is shown held aloft on a stick, comparable to the bottom register of the 'standard device' normally shown in front of a one-horned young bull. Alternatives: puṭa Anything folded or doubled so as to form a cup or concavity; crucible. Ta. kuvai, kukai crucible.  Ma. kuva id.  Ka. kōve  id. Tu. kōvè id., mould. (DEDR 1816). Alternative: Shape of ingot: దళము [daḷamu] daḷamu. [Skt.] n. A leaf. ఆకు. A petal. A part, భాగము.  dala n. ʻ leaf, petal ʼ MBh. Pa. Pk. dala -- n. ʻ leaf, petal ʼ, G. M. daḷ n.(CDIAL 6214). <DaLO>(MP)  {N} ``^branch, ^twig''.  *Kh.<DaoRa>(D) `dry leaves when fallen', ~<daura>, ~<dauRa> `twig', Sa.<DAr>, Mu.<Dar>, ~<Dara> `big branch of a tree', ~<DauRa> `a twig or small branch with fresh leaves on it', So.<kOn-da:ra:-n> `branch', H.<DalA>, B.<DalO>, O.<DaLO>, Pk.<DAlA>.  %7811.  #7741.(Munda etyma) Rebus: ḍhālako = a large metal ingot (G.) ḍhālakī = a metal heated and poured into a mould; a solid piece of metal; an ingot (Gujarati).
Stela of Ashurnasirpal II
Neo-Assyrian, about 883-859 BCE. From Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), northern Iraq. Divinities worshipped by the King are reportedly shown as symbols.
"The helmet with horns represents the supreme god Ashur; the winged disc stands for the sun god, Shamash; the crescent within a full circle is the emblem of the moon god, Sin; the fork is the thunderbolt of the storm god, Adad; and a star, the planet Venus, signifies Ishtar, goddess of love and war. The king wears a row of similar symbols on his chest, with a Maltese cross for the sun. The inscription has a prayer to the gods, a description of the rebuilding of Kalhu and ends with curses on anybody who damages the stela."[i]

The five glyphs and suggested divine associations are (r. to l.): helmet with horns (Ashur), winged disk (Shamash), moon (Sin), fork (Adad), star (Ishtar).

"One cannot simply assume that a set of symbols, arranged in a more or less linear fashion, is writing. A good example of this can be found in the Assyrian bas relief…The pictograms arranged in a diagonal line shown in this figure are not writing – they are symbols for deities, in particular the major deities of the King Ashurnasirpal II (ninth century BCE). " While these arguments on associations[ii] are dated to the reign of the kIng 883-853 BCE, the glyphs may have originated from representation of implements and weapons of the early Bronze-age recorded on cylinder seals and other objects, predating this 9th century BCE symbolism by about two millennia. Since the smithy was viewed as a temple (kole.l is the word used for both meanings), the implements/metals/metalware from the smithy also had 'divine' associations. It is suggested that the early forms of these symbols should have denoted such implements of the bronze-age and related to the life-activities of the artisans/merchants of the times. It has been argued elsewhere that many of the glyphs are so relatable:

sun symbol: arka  'gold, arka/erka 'copper'; 2. Moon, star symbols: uḍu 'star, moon'  Rebus: uḍu 'boat, raft'. meḍh 'Polar star' Rebus: me 'iron' [Alternative: moon sytmbol:  kammaṭa  'crucible' Rebus: kammaṭa 'coiner, mint, portable furnace for precious metals']; 5. kōṇḍa 'A circle described around a person under adjuration' (Marathi) Rebus: kõdā ʻ to turn in a lathe ʼ; 4. fork symbol: karaḍa 'snarling iron' (comparable to the fork?) Rebus: karaḍa 'hard alloy' (used as anvil).

Such rebus readings are also suggested for symbols such as scorpion or lizard or fox or fish or serpent which are deployed on kudurru of Mesopotamia and on many cylinder seals with or without cuneiform texts, generally denoting the names of the owners of the seals.

Utu  in Sumerian is the synonym of Akkadiam Shamash, sun divinity. Homonymous glosses in Meluhha point to the associations of divinity/constellation in the early Sumerian tradition, followed over centuries in Mesopotamia. Thus, even the symbols used on Kudurru and on some cylinder seals in a sacred context associating with 'divinities', there seems to be an underlying language which reinforced the deployment of the symbols. It is thus possible to explain the use of the 'moon' symbol in Mesopotamian artifacts in the context of the Meluhha word : uḍu which shows semantic evolution meaning references to moon, constellation, star. There are allographs which could also  been used in the writing systems of Ancient Near East with symbols such as uṛu ʻ boatman ʼ; uṭu Feather of an arrow; Arrow-head;  huṇḍā ʻ hyena ʼ. The 'moon' symbols shown on Ancient Near East artifacts may have connoted the rebus representation of uḍu 'star, moon' Rebus: uḍu 'boat, raft'. This argument demonstrates that one should not rush to judgement that the symbols used had no basis in language and there is no basis to conclude that the symbols were voice-less abstractions, arbitrary choices or non-linguistic representations.

[i] Grayson, AK, Assyrian royal inscriptions (Wiesbaden, O. Harrassowitz, 1972); Reade, JE, Assyrian sculpture-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1998).
[ii] Sproat, Richard,2010, Language, technology and Society, OUP, p. 89.

Read on...

Table of Contents: Meluhha – A visible language
Executive Summary
The argument: hieroglyphs for a catalog of a smithy/forge
Alchemical tradition of symbols, Philosopher's stone
The argument: presenting hard alloys/smithy repertoire as hieroglyphs of Meluhha
The argument: presenting Meluhha artisan and milakkhu kulsānā  'copper forge'
Elamite metallurgical excellence
The argument: fish and antelope as hieroglyphs
Boat load of hard alloys and lapidary products
Samarra: first smelting of iron ore, 5000 BCE validated by Meluhha writing
Six women, with wavy hair, six scorpions: Samarra bowl
Continuity of artisan traditions
The argument: hieroglyphs of Warka vase
Dancing girl hieroglyph
Composites, pictorial nature of the Meluhha writing system
Kanmer: tokens in bulla as seals
Kanmer: Stone-turner artisan's workshop
Kanmer: Furnace workshop
Kanmer: Metal workshop
Documentation concerning a transaction
Chanhudaro paṭṭaḍi  'anvil, smithy, forge'
paṭṭaḍi – Smithy/forge Workshop
Trough as a hieroglyph
Dholavira advertisement board announcing bronze-age metalwork
Harosheth Hagoyim, smithy of nations
Lapidary-Smith Standard in procession
Orthographic style of the writing system
Metals trade catalog on a Mohenjo-daro seal
Meluhha – pioneers in brass and makers of tin and zinc alloys
Advancement from tokens/bullae to incised speech
Corpora of inscriptions
Sibri cylinder seal
A writing system called mlecchita vikalpa
Hieroglyptic nature of the cipher
Mesopotamia and Harappa
Proto-Elamite, potters' marks and Indus script
Meluhha language
Role of Dilmun in Indus trade with contact areas
Co-existence of three writing systems
What is the etymology of the word mīmāṃsa मीमांस ?
Bharata's Nāṭyaśāstramleccha as language, bhāṣā
Toda Mund and Sumer Mudhif
One Meluhhan village in Akkad (3rd millennium BCE)
Bronze Age Linguistic Doctrine
Nature of doctrine
Meluhha may mean the lands of the Indian Ocean
Languages of Meluhha (Mleccha) and Marhashi are the same
Narmer Palette, rebus method
Tamilla as a synonym of Milangka, Wilangka (Milakkha, mleccha, Pali)
Slanted strokes as hieroglyphs
Sources of Prākrits
Validity of mleccha usage
Mleccha as a Bharatiya language
Mleccha were  bharatiya (Indians) of Indian linguistic area
Nahali, Meluhhan, Language 'X' 
Evidence related to proto-Indian or proto-Indic or Indus language
Evidence from Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa for mleccha vācas, Meluhha speech
Mleccha words in Sumerian
Substrate language of Sumer and Indian lexemes
Apaśabda, mleccha
Mlecchalingua franca of Bhāratam, of the 'linguistic area'
Indo-Iranian a product of merger in historical linguistics
Centum -- Sadem in Sanskrit
Ralayor abhedah
Meluhha granaries, garden, temples,avifauna, fauna, timber/woods, bronzes
The meluhhan village of Guabba
Guabba continued with Meluhhan  temples
Guabba as a Meluhhan seaport
Proto-Munda continuity and Language X
Further researches: historical linguistics
How to reconstruct mleccha of 4th millennium BCE Indian sprachbund?
Lingua francadeśi
Mleccha, Indus language of Indian linguistic area (sprachbund)
Characteristics of mleccha noted by Patañjali
Evidence from Valmiki Rāmāyaṇa
He 'lavah
Meluhha: epigraphical evidences
Mleccha Khandas
Meluhha, toponym: two Meluhhas
Melakkha, island-dwellers, lapidaries
Bronze Age Meluhha, smithy/lapidary documents, takṣat vāk, incised speech
Tanana mleccha
Haifa: find-spot of the first two 'rosetta stones'
Mesopotamian trade with Dilmun, Magan and Meluhha
Erythraen Sea  and Meluhha
Tin from 'Meluhha'
Euphrates the copper river or URUDU and Tin from Meluhha
Sea-faring merchants of Melukkha (Meluhha) and trade route of tin ingots
Tilmun, Telmun, Dilmun, the land of the famous red stone
The Tin road
Tin from Meluhha; Mleccha as a language
Tin of Melukkha
Diffusion of Metallurgy: Meluhha and western Afghanistan sources of tin
Documenting the Tin processing tradition in India
Papagudem boy wearing a bangle of tin
Tin placer prospecting: pictorial gallery
Elamite < proto-afroasiatic?
Ubaid ceramics
Archaeobotanical evidence
Avestan later than Vedic
takṣa, tvaṣṭṛ, ṛbhu: carpenters
Technical skils of the artificer mentioned in texts
Tvaṣṭṛ, soma
Maritime, riverine Ṛgvedic culture
Meluhha distinct from Elamite
Spinner hieroglyph
Hieroglyph of overflowing water
Standard device in front of the one-horned young bull
Buffalo as hieroglyph and association with overflowing water
Goat-fish as ligatured hieroglyph
Identifying the hieroglyphs of Sit Shamshi bronze
Sacred ceremony: water ablutions to the morning sun, Shamash
Susa: sacred fire-smithy, model of a temple
Three stakes on Sit-Shamshi bronze
Mohenjo-daro stupa, Great Bath and Sit Shamshi bronze
Proto-elamite tablet with seal mark
The emergence of a new writing system in the Fars region
Common motifs on seals/tablets of bronze-age Indo-Eurasia
Dilmun (Failaka) seals
Meluhha hieroglyphs on cylinder seals and kudurru
Lanayor abhedah
Kudurru and scorpion glyph
Glyphs on kudurru: sun-disk, scorpion, eagle, lion, snake-hood, quadruped
Indus writing in Ancient Near East
Dilmun, sea of Magan, the power of the bull
Seals of Saar, Bahrain
ḍhāla  ʻshieldʼ Rebus: ḍhālako 'large ingot'; huḍa   'ram' Rebus: uḍu 'boat, raft'
Hieroglyphs to denote iron, anvil, mint
Hieroglyph khaṇḍa 'divisions' Rebus:  kāṇḍā 'metalware'
Metalware products of a forge
Comparable hieroglyphs of antithetical antelopes
Ligatured Meluhha hieroglyphs
Indian sprachbund contacts with Sumer, Elam, Mesopotamia
Gadd seals
Selected Sumerian texts referring to Meluhha, Dilmun, Magan
Meluhha glosses of Indian sprachbund
Languages and dialects referenced to Meluhha glosses: CDIAL, DEDR, Munda
Excerpt from a remarkable webpage of University of Delaware


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