Image: Iravatham Mahadevan
Image: Iravatham Mahadevan

This symbol shares a common root with the Chinese character 糸. In modern Chinese, it is the noun silk.

In Indus script, the symbol is comprised of two elements, the adjective fine and some threads. Hence, Mahadevan's sign number 4345 is the noun fine threads or fine yarn.

Illustrative Text Reference:

Mohenjo-daro: Seal: M-396 a: Jagat Pati Joshi and Asko Parpola, 1987: Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions: Volume 1: Page 96: Collections in India: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia.


Xu Shen says that the symbol appears to depict a hank of yarn, and interestingly gives the archaic pronunciation as ¹, which suggests a link with the English word moth.

Image Credit:

Indus Script Sign Number 4345: List of Sign Variants: Iravatham Mahadevan, 1977: The Indus Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables: The Director General Archaeological Survey of India.


Note: 1. Xu Shen, 121: Shuowen Jiezi (Explaining and Analysing Characters).