Quest for the sacred sacrifical and divinatory scriptures; part 1

Below is the first page of the the scripture, Quest for the sacred sacrificial and divinatory scriptures, as recorded in 纳西东巴古籍译注 Vol 3 (Yunnan, 1989).

Notice that there are two panels, each covering one and a half rows. I have used official Naxi pinyin to transliterate proper names.



[Panel 1] a33 la33 mə33 ʂər55 ŋi33, ʦ’o21 tʂ’ɪ33 bər33 me33 ʂua55 lua33 kɣ33 nɰ33 bər33, ɰ33 tʂ’ɪ33  ʣi21 me33 ʥə33 k’ə21 bu21 nɰ33 ʣi21, ʥi21 tʂ’ɪ33 i33 me33 so33 ʂua21 kɣ33 nɰ33 i33, ʣi33 tʂ’ɪ33 ʣɪ21 me33 lɣ33 gɰ33 p’ər21 ʦ’ɪ55 ʦ’o33 dy21 nɰ33 ʣɪ21.

[Panel 2] ʦ’o21 ze33 lɰ55 ɰ33 ʦ’o21 bər33 ʦ’ɪ21, ʦ’e55 hɰ21 bu33 bə21 ʦ’o33 za21 ʦ’ɪ21 dɰ33 ɲi33, zɪ33 ʥə21 la33 lər33 dy21 nɰ55 t’ɣ33, tʂua21 nɰ33 kɣ55 ʥi21 t’ɣ21, bɰ33 nɰ33 ʂu21 mi33 k’ɰ55. Ga33 k’ua33 t’o55, ga33 lɣ33 ʦɪ21, ga33 mi33 k’ɰ55 le33 ʣɪ21. Mɰ33 k’u33 t’ɣ55 gə33 kua33 p’ər21 zo33 ʨi55 gu21 le33 ʥə21, dy21 k’u33 t’ɣ55 gə33 k’æ33 me33 mi55 ʨi33 ʦ’ər33 le33 ʥə21


Oh, in a time of great antiquity, all men came down from the holy mount JJiuna-shualua, all the birds with long wings flew down from the Jje-ke slope, and all the water came flowing down from the towering peaks. All of our ancestors who came down from holy mount Jjiuna-shualua settled in the land known as Lvggu-percico [a place name, meaning mountain pass].

On the day that the first ancestor of all men, Co Ssei Lee Ee, and the first ancestor of all women, Cei Hee Bbu Bbe, came down from the holy mount Jjiuna-shualua, they arrived at a lush, extensive grassland where man was responsible for putting up the tent, and woman set about lighting the fire. Whilst living there, they erected wooden stakes and large stones for the God of Victory, and burnt incense in his honour. Co Ssei Lee Ee became sick, and Cei Hee Bbu Bbe was stricken with fever.

2 thoughts on “Quest for the sacred sacrifical and divinatory scriptures; part 1

  1. I’m sure this is a common feeling with Donga and ignorant people like myself, but I’m still filled with that feeling like when one first sets eyes on 漢字. It’s lingering this long perhaps because these are so obviously pictures of something to my brain. It’s a bit hard for me to wrap my head around the language-ness of it. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that.

    How long is the entire text? I look forward to seeing the rest.

  2. I wouldn’t be embarrassed at all; this scripture is a good example of the kind that serves as mnemonic aid where each spoken syllable is not necessarily represented in the text. As such it’s hard to classify as true ‘language’, especially if you don’t have a dongba present to read it for you.

    There are something like 37 pages to this version.

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