- continued, part 2 -

Fig. 13
Proto-elamitic entry plate (acc. to Scheil, 1935)

Fig. 14
Early Sumerian characters from Jemdet-Nasr/Kisch (acc. to Langdon).

Fig. 15
Earliest Sumerian characters from Uruk/Warka. On the fourth lowest line, our guiding sign in regard to material and constructive character is shown, which is dealt with by Andrae as a reed bundle and as a sign of the city deity of Uruk (acc. to Falkenstein, 1936).

Fig. 16
“Family tree of writing”. Gelb (8) interprets the spatio-temporal order of the finds as diffusion of a hypothetical Proto-Sumerian picture script. With the substrate hypothesis according to Andrae, the prototypes would have to be presupposed as locally independent phenomena (parallelism); only the information about the possibility to record the property signs for the purpose of taxation would have been diffused.

Fig. 17
Dissemination of non-cuneiform linear scripts of the bronze period of the ancient Near East, including eastern Mediterranean regions and Indus valley (according to Pope, 1988:18). The arrows show the nucleus of the later expansion of cuneiform script.

Fig. 18
According to Falkenstein (25), “clearly pictographic signs” (below: head, mountain goat, Ur) are rare, likewise the “barely indicating signs” (above: woman, sheep, ox), in contrast to the quantitatively dominant third kind, the “abstract symbol signs” (Fig. 15), which are, however, considered to be without pictorial relation.

Fig. 19
Derivation of the cuneiform script from the limited number of pictographic signs, whose mostly natural model is recognizable (acc. to Gelb, 74). The large class termed as abstract symbol-signs by Falkenstein is hardly taken into consideration.

Fig. 20
Boat on a Sumerian seal (approx. 3200 BC) and the development of the corresponding linear sign (Uruk) towards the Assyrian cuneiform characters (acc. to Driver, 48).

Fig. 21
Reed hut with cult symbol and the development of the corresponding sign (acc. to Driver, 49).

Fig. 22
Tablet for commercial entries or tax records? According to Gelb (69), the circles and semicircles are numbers or figures (on reverse side below: 54 cows and oxen). He interprets the tablet from Uruk as a delivery note for products meaning “54 heads of cattle”. In the fields, he assumes personal names and numbers; however, if one takes property signs (or temporary occupation markers) as models for the linear signs, the tablets could be interpreted as a register of mobile and immobile property.

Fig. 23
Simplified phaseological model of settlement development according to territorio-historic criteria (evolution of the territorio-legal significance of the sign of the deity with growing settlement).

...t1 kin hamlets, 
...t2 tribal settlement (village), 
...t3 city with later influx from elsewhere 
.........(dependent tenants, dealers, workmen etc.)
S1-3.....ranks (social stratification): 
.........S-1 one layer; 
.........S-2 two-layered, 
G.......founder line,becomes the aristocracy in the phase t3 
........(king, princely houses)
Z.......later influxes, without territorial rights and 
........therefore dependent
T.......territory: surface defined by sacred sign 
........covered by territorial rights  derived from 
........settlement foundation
W.......dwelling space
TR......sign indicating territorial rights: Its significance
........increases with increasing  population density,
........resp. with increasing significance of the founder line.

Fig. 24
Earliest layer of Chinese signs: scratchings on animal bones (acc. toUnger, 1969:17). They are very similar to the abstract symbolic signs of the Near Eastern and Mediterranean areas. Here, too, a sign which remained important until today (she, sino-japanese: sha) has been historically studied and attributed to reed construction in its earliest form (Moriya).

Fig. 25
Scratched bones of the Chinese Shang period, approximately 1500–1000 BC (acc. to japanese Shodo Zenshu).

Text 1, 2, 3
Figures 1, 2
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