Tiger, tiger…

‘Tiger’, la33 in Naxi, is represented in the pictographic script by the striped head (or indeed full body) of the tiger:

tiger heador tiger whole

Li Lincan 李霖灿 has the following to say about the character:
“The Naxi divide walking animals into three categories – horned, clawed, and striped. The character for tiger is one of the most frequently appearing characters in the Dongba scriptures, and is often used at the beginning of the scripture. When used to start the story, the character is read ‘ə33 la3333 ʂər55 ɳi33‘, which means ‘in ages past’, or something akin to the English ‘once upon a time’. In scriptures from the Lijiang region, the character is often coloured.”
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