Siddha%E1%B9%83 Script
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Siddha?
Siddham.svg
The word Siddha? in the Siddha? script
Type
LanguagesSanskrit
Time period
c. late 6th century[1] – c. 1200 CE [2]
Parent systems
Child systems
Sister systems
N?gar?
rad?
DirectionLeft-to-right
ISO 15924Sidd, 302
Unicode alias
Siddham
U+11580–U+115FF

Final Accepted Script Proposal

Variant Forms
  1. ^ The Semitic origin of the Brahmic scripts is not universally agreed upon.

Siddha? (also Siddh[3]), also known in its later evolved form as Siddham?t?k?,[4] is a medieval Brahmic abugida, derived from the Gupta script and ancestral to the Assamese alphabets, Bengali alphabet, Maithili alphabet[5], and the Tibetan alphabet.

The word Siddha? means "accomplished" or "perfected" in Sanskrit. The script received its name from the practice of writing Siddha?, or Siddha? astu (may there be perfection), at the head of documents. Other names for the script include bonji (Japanese: ) lit. "Brahma's characters" and "Sanskrit script" and Chinese: ?; pinyin: X?tán wénzi lit. "Siddha? script".

Siddha? is an abugida rather than an alphabet, as each character indicates a syllable, including a consonant and (possibly) a vowel. If the vowel sound is not explicitly indicated, the short 'a' is assumed. Diacritic marks are used to indicate other vowels, as well as the anusvara and visarga. A virama can be used to indicate that the consonant letter stands alone with no vowel, which sometimes happens at the end of Sanskrit words.

History

A reproduction of the palm-leaf manuscript in Siddham script, originally held at H?ry?-ji Temple, Japan; now located in the Tokyo National Museum at the Gallery of H?ry?--ji Treasure. The original copy may be the earliest extant Sanskrit manuscript of the Heart Sutra dated to the 7th-8th century CE. It also contains the Sanskrit text of the U?a Vijaya Dh?ra S?tra and the final line shows the Siddha? abugida.[6]
Chinese use of the Siddha? script for the Pratisara mantra, from the Later Tang. 927 CE
Chinese use of the Siddha? script for the Mah?pratya?gir? mantra. 971 CE
Siddha? Bijakshara A, Daish?-in, Miyajima
Mirror with bijaksharas, Miyajima

The Siddham script evolved from the Gupta Brahmi script in the late 6th century CE.[1]

Many Buddhist texts taken to China along the Silk Road were written using a version of the Siddha? script. This continued to evolve, and minor variations are seen across time, and in different regions. Importantly it was used for transmitting the Buddhist tantra texts. At the time it was considered important to preserve the pronunciation of mantras, and Chinese was not suitable for writing the sounds of Sanskrit. This led to the retention of the Siddha? script in East Asia. The practice of writing using Siddha? survived in East Asia where Tantric Buddhism persisted.

K?kai introduced the Siddha? script to Japan when he returned from China in 806, where he studied Sanskrit with Nalanda-trained monks including one known as Prajñ? (Chinese: ?; pinyin: B?r? S?ncáng, 734-c. 810). By the time K?kai learned this script, the trading and pilgrimage routes over land to India had been closed by the expanding Abbasid Caliphate.[7]

In Japan, the writing of mantras and copying/reading of sutras using the Siddha? script is still practiced in the esoteric schools of Shingon Buddhism and Tendai as well as in the syncretic sect of Shugend?. The characters are known as shittan () or bonji (, Chinese: Fànzì). The Taish? Tripi?aka version of the Chinese Buddhist canon preserves the Siddha? characters for most mantras, and Korean Buddhists still write b?jas in a modified form of Siddha?. A recent innovation is the writing of Japanese language slogans on T-shirts using Bonji. Japanese Siddha? has evolved from the original script used to write s?tras and is now somewhat different from the ancient script.[8][9][10]

It is typical to see Siddha? written with a brush, as with Chinese writing; it is also written with a bamboo pen. In Japan, a special brush called a bokuhitsu (, Cantonese: pokbat) is used for formal Siddha? calligraphy. The informal style is known as "fude" (?, Cantonese: "moubat").

In the middle of the 9th century, China experienced a series of purges of "foreign religions", thus cutting Japan off from the sources of Siddha? texts. In time, other scripts, particularly Devanagari, replaced Siddha? in India, while in Eastern South Asia (including Assam, Bengal, Bihar etc), Siddha? evolved to become the Bengali script, Tirhuta script and Anga script, leaving East Asia as the only region where Siddha? is still used.

There were special forms of Siddha? used in Korea that varied significantly from those used in China and Japan, and there is evidence that Siddha? was written in Central Asia, as well, by the early 7th century.

As was done with Chinese characters, Japanese Buddhist scholars sometimes created multiple characters with the same phonological value to add meaning to Siddha? characters. This practice, in effect, represents a 'blend' of the Chinese style of writing and the Indian style of writing and allows Sanskrit texts in Siddha? to be differentially interpreted as they are read, as was done with Chinese characters that the Japanese had adopted. This led to multiple variants of the same characters.[11]

With regards to directionality, Siddha? texts were usually read from left-to-right then top-to-bottom, as with Indic languages, but occasionally they were written in the traditional Chinese style, from top-to-bottom then right-to-left. Bilingual Siddha?-Japanese texts show the manuscript turned 90 degrees clockwise and the Japanese is written from top-to-bottom, as is typical of Japanese, and then the manuscript is turned back again, and the Siddha? writing is continued from left-to-right (the resulting Japanese characters look sideways).

Over time, additional markings were developed, including punctuation marks, head marks, repetition marks, end marks, special ligatures to combine conjuncts and rarely to combine syllables, and several ornaments of the scribe's choice, which are not currently encoded. The nuqta is also used in some modern Siddha? texts.

The script

Vowels

Independent form Romanized As diacritic with Siddham kya.svg Independent form Romanized As diacritic with Siddham kya.svg
Siddham a.svg a Siddham kya.svg Siddham aa.svg ? Siddham kyaa.svg
Siddham i.svg i Siddham kyi.svg Siddham ii.svg ? Siddham kyii.svg
Siddham u.svg u Siddham kyu.svg Siddham uu.svg ? Siddham kyuu.svg
Siddham e.svg e Siddham kye.svg Siddham ai.svg ai Siddham kyai.svg
Siddham o.svg o Siddham kyo.svg Siddham au.svg au Siddham kyau.svg
Siddham am.svg a? Siddham kyam.svg Siddham ah.svg a? Siddham kyah.svg
Independent form Romanized As diacritic with Siddham k.svg Independent form Romanized As diacritic with Siddham k.svg
Siddham ri.svg ? Siddham kri.svg Siddham rii.svg ?
Siddham li.svg ? Siddham lii.svg ?
Alternative forms
Siddham aa1.svg ? Siddham i1.svg i Siddham i2.svg i Siddham ii1.svg ? Siddham ii2.svg ? Siddham u1.svg u Siddham uu1.svg ? Siddham o1.svg o Siddham au1.svg au Siddham am1.svg a?

Consonants

Stop Approximant Fricative
Tenuis Aspirated Voiced Breathy voiced Nasal
Glottal Siddham h.svg h
Velar Siddham k.svg k Siddham kh.svg kh Siddham g.svg g Siddham gh.svg gh Siddham ng.svg ?
Palatal Siddham c.svg c Siddham ch.svg ch Siddham j.svg j Siddham jh.svg jh Siddham ny2.svg ñ Siddham y.svg y Siddham sh1.svg ?
Retroflex Siddham tt.svg ? Siddham tth.svg ?h Siddham dd.svg ? Siddham ddh.svg ?h Siddham nn.svg ? Siddham r.svg r Siddham ss.svg ?
Dental Siddham t.svg t Siddham th.svg th Siddham d.svg d Siddham dh2.svg dh Siddham n.svg n Siddham l.svg l Siddham s.svg s
Bilabial Siddham p.svg p Siddham ph.svg ph Siddham b.svg b Siddham bh.svg bh Siddham m.svg m
Labiodental Siddham v3.svg v
Conjuncts in alphabet
Siddham kss.svg k? Siddham llm.svg lla?
Alternative forms
Siddham ch1.svg ch Siddham j1.svg j Siddham ny.svg ñ Siddham tt1.svg ? Siddham tth1.svg ?h Siddham ddh1.svg ?h Siddham ddh2.svg ?h Siddham nn1.svg ? Siddham nn3.svg ? Siddham th1.svg th Siddham th2.svg th Siddham dh.svg dh Siddham n2.svg n Siddham m1.svg m Siddham sh.svg ? Siddham sh2.svg ? Siddham v.svg v

Conjuncts

Siddha? alphabet by K?kai (774-835)
kk? -ya -ra -la -va -ma -na
Siddham k.svg k Siddham kya.svg kya Siddham kra.svg kra Siddham kla.svg kla Siddham kva.svg kva Siddham kma.svg kma Siddham kna1.svg kna
Siddham rka.svg rk Siddham rkya.svg rkya Siddham rkra.svg rkra Siddham rkla.svg rkla Siddham rkva.svg rkva Siddham rkma.svg rkma Siddham rkna.svg rkna
Siddham kh.svg kh
    total 68 rows.
  • ? The combinations that contain adjoining duplicate letters should be deleted in this table.
Siddham ngka1.svg ?ka Siddham ngkha.svg ?kha Siddham ngga1.svg ?ga Siddham nggha.svg ?gha
Siddham nyca.svg ñca Siddham nycha.svg ñcha Siddham nyja1.svg ñja Siddham nyjha.svg ñjha
Siddham nntta.svg a Siddham nnttha.svg ha Siddham nndda.svg a Siddham nnddha.svg ha
Siddham nta.svg nta Siddham ntha.svg ntha Siddham nda.svg nda Siddham ndha1.svg ndha
Siddham mpa.svg mpa Siddham mpha.svg mpha Siddham mba.svg mba Siddham mbha.svg mbha
Siddham ngya1.svg ?ya Siddham ngra.svg ?ra Siddham ngla.svg ?la Siddham ngva.svg ?va
Siddham ngsha.svg a Siddham ngssa.svg a Siddham ngsa.svg ?sa Siddham ngha.svg ?ha Siddham ngkssa.svg ?k?a
Siddham ska.svg ska Siddham skha.svg skha Siddham dga.svg dga Siddham dgha.svg dgha Siddham ngktra.svg ?ktra
Siddham wca.svg vca/bca Siddham wcha.svg vcha/bcha Siddham wja.svg vja/bja Siddham wjha.svg vjha/bjha Siddham jny1.svg jña
Siddham sstta.svg a Siddham ssttha.svg ha Siddham ddda.svg d?a Siddham dddha.svg d?ha Siddham ssnya.svg a
Siddham sta.svg sta Siddham stha.svg stha Siddham wda.svg vda/bda Siddham wdha.svg vdha/bdha Siddham rtsna.svg rtsna
Siddham spa.svg spa Siddham spha.svg spha Siddham dba.svg dba Siddham dbha.svg dbha Siddham rkssma.svg rk?ma
Siddham rkssvya.svg rk?vya Siddham rkssvrya.svg rk?vrya Siddham lta.svg lta Siddham tkva.svg tkva
Siddham ttsha2.svg a Siddham ttssa.svg a Siddham sha.svg sha Siddham bkssa.svg bk?a
Siddham pta.svg pta Siddham ttka.svg ?ka Siddham dsva.svg dsva Siddham ttsschra.svg chra
Siddham jja.svg jja Siddham ttttta.svg a Siddham nnnna.svg a Siddham tta.svg tta Siddham nna2.svg nna Siddham mma.svg mma Siddham lla.svg lla Siddham vva.svg vva
Alternative forms of conjuncts that contain ?.
Siddham nntta1.svg a Siddham nnttha1.svg ha Siddham nndda1.svg a Siddham nnddha1.svg ha

? syllables

Siddham kri.svg k? Siddham khri.svg kh? Siddham gri.svg g? Siddham ghri.svg gh? Siddham ngri.svg Siddham cri.svg c? Siddham chri.svg ch? Siddham jri.svg j? Siddham jhri.svg jh? Siddham nyri.svg ñ?

Some sample syllables

Siddham rka.svg rka Siddham rkaa.svg rk? Siddham rki.svg rki Siddham rkii.svg rk? Siddham rku.svg rku Siddham rkuu.svg rk? Siddham rke.svg rke Siddham rkai.svg rkai Siddham rko.svg rko Siddham rkau.svg rkau Siddham rkam.svg rka? Siddham rkah.svg rka?
Siddham ngka1.svg ?ka Siddham ngkaa.svg ?k? Siddham ngki.svg ?ki Siddham ngkii.svg ?k? Siddham ngku.svg ?ku Siddham ngkuu.svg ?k? Siddham ngke.svg ?ke Siddham ngkai.svg ?kai Siddham ngko.svg ?ko Siddham ngkau.svg ?kau Siddham ngkam.svg ?ka? Siddham ngkah.svg ?ka?

Siddha? fonts

Siddha? is still largely a hand written script. Some efforts have been made to create computer fonts, though to date none of these are capable of reproducing all of the Siddha? conjunct consonants. Notably, the Chinese Buddhist Electronic Texts Association has created a Siddha? font for their electronic version of the Taisho Tripi?aka, though this does not contain all possible conjuncts. The software Mojikyo also contains fonts for Siddha?, but split Siddha? in different blocks and requires multiple fonts to render a single document.

A Siddha? input system which relies on the CBETA font Siddhamkey 3.0 has been produced.

Unicode

Siddha? script was added to the Unicode Standard in June 2014 with the release of version 7.0.

The Unicode block for Siddha? is U+11580–U+115FF:

Siddham[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1158x 𑖀 𑖁 𑖂 𑖃 𑖄 𑖅 𑖆 𑖇 𑖈 𑖉 𑖊 𑖋 𑖌 𑖍 𑖎 𑖏
U+1159x 𑖐 𑖑 𑖒 𑖓 𑖔 𑖕 𑖖 𑖗 𑖘 𑖙 𑖚 𑖛 𑖜 𑖝 𑖞 𑖟
U+115Ax 𑖠 𑖡 𑖢 𑖣 𑖤 𑖥 𑖦 𑖧 𑖨 𑖩 𑖪 𑖫 𑖬 𑖭 𑖮 𑖯
U+115Bx 𑖰 𑖱 𑖲 𑖳 𑖴 𑖵 𑖸 𑖹 𑖺 𑖻 𑖼 𑖽 𑖾 𑖿
U+115Cx 𑗀 𑗁 𑗂 𑗃 𑗄 𑗅 𑗆 𑗇 𑗈 𑗉 𑗊 𑗋 𑗌 𑗍 𑗎 𑗏
U+115Dx 𑗐 𑗑 𑗒 𑗓 𑗔 𑗕 𑗖 𑗗 𑗘 𑗙 𑗚 𑗛 𑗜 𑗝
U+115Ex
U+115Fx
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 13.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

Notes

  1. ^ a b Singh, Upinder (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. Delhi: Pearson. p. 43. ISBN 9788131716779.
  2. ^ Its usage survives into the modern period for liturgical purposes in Japan and Korea.
  3. ^ Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary, page 1215, col. 1 http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/monier/
  4. ^ Rajan, Vinodh; Sharma, Shriramana (2012-06-28). "L2/12-221: Comments on naming the "Siddham" encoding" (PDF). Retrieved .
  5. ^ "Devanagari: Development, Amplification, and Standardisation". Central Hindi Directorate, Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, Govt. of India. 3 April 1977. Retrieved 2018 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ e-museum 2018   Ink on pattra (palmyra leaves used for writing upon) ink on paper Heart Sutra: 4.9x28.0 Dharani: 4.9x27.9/10.0x28.3 Late Gupta period/7-8th century Tokyo National Museum N-8.
  7. ^ Pandey, Anshuman (2012-08-01). "N4294: Proposal to Encode the Siddham Script in ISO/IEC 10646" (PDF). Working Group Document, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2.
  8. ^ SM Dine, 2012, Sanskrit Beyond Text: The Use of Bonji (Siddham) in Mandala and Other Imagery in Ancient and Medieval Japan, University of Washington.
  9. ^ Siddha? : the perfect script.
  10. ^ Buddhism guide: Shingon.
  11. ^ Kawabata, Taichi; Suzuki, Toshiya; Nagasaki, Kiyonori; Shimoda, Masahiro (2013-06-11). "N4407R: Proposal to Encode Variants for Siddham Script" (PDF). Working Group Document, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2.

Sources

  • Bonji Taikan (?). (T?ky?: Meicho Fuky?kai, 1983)
  • Chaudhuri, Saroj Kumar (1998). Siddham in China and Japan, Sino-Platonic papers No. 88
  • e-Museum, National Treasures & Important Cultural Properties of National Museums, Japan (2018), "Sanskrit Version of Heart Sutra and Viyaya Dharani", e-Museum
  • Stevens, John. Sacred Calligraphy of the East. (Boston: Shambala, 1995.)
  • Van Gulik, R.H. Siddham: An Essay on the History of Sanskrit Studies in China and Japan (New Delhi, Jayyed Press, 1981).
  • Yamasaki, Taik?. Shingon: Japanese Esoteric Buddhism. (Fresno: Shingon Buddhist International Institute, 1988.)

External links


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