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The Precursors of Proto-Indo-European

The Indo-Anatolian and Indo-Uralic Hypotheses


Edited by Alwin Kloekhorst and Tijmen Pronk

In The Precursors of Proto-Indo-European some of the world’s leading experts in historical linguistics shed new light on two hypotheses about the prehistory of the Indo-European language family, the so-called Indo-Anatolian and Indo-Uralic hypotheses. The Indo-Anatolian hypothesis states that the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European family should be viewed as a sister language of ‘classical’ Proto-Indo-European, the ancestor of all the other, non-Anatolian branches. The common ancestor of all Indo-European languages, including Anatolian, can then be called Proto-Indo-Anatolian. The Indo-Uralic hypothesis states that the closest genetic relative of Indo-European is the Uralic language family, and that both derive from a common ancestor called Proto-Indo-Uralic. The book unravels the history of these hypotheses and scrutinizes the evidence for and against them.

Contributors are Stefan H. Bauhaus, Rasmus G. Bjørn, Dag Haug, Petri Kallio, Simona Klemenčič, Alwin Kloekhorst, Frederik Kortlandt, Guus Kroonen, Martin J. Kümmel, Milan Lopuhaä-Zwakenberg, Alexander Lubotsky, Rosemarie Lühr, Michaël Peyrot, Tijmen Pronk, Andrei Sideltsev, Michiel de Vaan, Mikhail Zhivlov.

Tian Tian

“Clothing strips” refers to those sections of tomb inventories written on bamboo and wooden slips from the early and middle Western Han that record clothing items. The distinctive characteristics of the writing, check markings, and placement in the tomb of these clothing strips reflect funerary burial conventions of that period. “Clothing lists” from the latter part of the Western Han period are directly related to these clothing strips. Differences in format between these two types of documents are the result of changes in funerary ritual during the Western Han period.

Cheng Shaoxuan and Liu Gang

This paper introduces several newly unearthed wooden figures from tombs in Yangzhou that date to the Five Dynasties period, and provides complete transcriptions and preliminary studies of the inscriptions on them. By comparing these figures to similar materials discovered elsewhere, this paper argues that the function of putting these kinds of wooden figurines in tombs was to avoid misfortune. The last portion of the paper briefly examines the origin of this custom and beliefs behind it.

Liu Gang

The words “Xie hou” in the poem “Chou mou” 綢繆 from the “Airs of Tang” in the Shi jing are written as “Xing hou” in the Anhui University Warring States Bamboo Manuscript Shi jing. This might reflect the original orthographic form of the poem. The order of the poem in the manuscript version is different from the received Mao edition and reverses the second and third stanzas. These differences are determined by a different understanding of the people referred to by liangren, canzhe (pointing to a “Grandee”), and Xing hou.

Ethan Harkness

By considering the Kongjiapo gaodishu (“notice to the underworld”) document of 142 B.C.E. in conjunction with the rishu (“daybook”) manuscript from the same tomb and other examples of gaodishu, this article highlights the function gaodishu served to aid the deceased with meeting important figures in a bureaucratized conception of the underworld. Questions are raised about Han burial practices and contemporaneous social institutions such as chattel slavery.

Jiang Wen

The Eastern Han period tomb-quelling text of Zhang Shujing 張叔敬, which dates to 173 CE, confirms that living people believed the dead could use soybeans and melon seeds (huangdou guazi 黃豆瓜子) to pay taxes in the underworld. The knowledge of this only came to light with the discovery of the tablet Taiyuan Has a Dead Man (*Taiyuan you sizhe 泰原有死者), which reveals a previously unknown Qin-Han belief that the dead regarded soybeans as gold. I suggest a direct association between the above two beliefs: soybeans and melon seeds were used as substitutes for small natural gold nuggets to pay taxes in the underworld because of their resemblance in shape and color. Furthermore, a huge quantity of painted clay balls shaped like large soybeans (dashu 大菽) are recorded in the Mawangdui 馬王堆 tomb inventories (qiance 遣策), which indirectly supports this interpretation.

Thies Staack

The present paper investigates three terms that were all used to refer to acts of writing in the early imperial administration: shu 書, xie 寫, and shu 署. Based on an analysis of their usage in administrative and legal texts, it illustrates the semantic differences of these terms, which also bear implications for our understanding of the production and use of administrative documents.