Xu Shen

Xǔ Shèn 许慎 was a Chinese scholar who lived around 1,900 years ago. He was the author of Shuowen Jiezi, a dictionary and etymology of Chinese characters. According to Ulrich Theobald, Xu Shen had complete access to the imperial library and archives¹. He would therefore, have been able to use any books that survived from before the destruction of the imperial palaces at the end of the Qin dynasty. The work is an important resource for the study of archaic Chinese characters, and because, according to my hypothesis, the roots of Chinese go back many thousands of years, other scripts within what I have called the Cave Script language group.

One of the key facts illustrated by the dictionary, is that Chinese characters are modular in nature. If you know what the basic building block means, and understand the context, you can decipher the composite character.

The Indus script shares a common root with Chinese, hence the Shuowen Jiezi is an invaluable reference source for translating Indus characters. Many archaic Sinitic script characters are a perfect match for those in the Indus script.


1. Ulrich Theobald, 2014: Persons in Chinese History - Xu Shen: ChinaKnowledge.de: http://www.chinaknowledge.de/History/Han/personsxushen.html: Accessed: 27 September 2016.