Image: Iravatham Mahadevan
Image: Iravatham Mahadevan

This glyph resembles the small seal script form of the Chinese character chè 屮. Xu Shen explains that it is a pictograph of a branch¹. It was used as a classifier (counter or measure word) for shafts.

Draft animals were attached to the shaft in teams. The suggested translation is therefore, the noun team.

Illustrative Text Reference:

Mohenjo-daro: Seal: M-178 a: Jagat Pati Joshi and Asko Parpola, 1987: Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions: Volume 1: Page 51: Collections in India: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia.


In the Indus texts, this symbol is normally associated with bovines. However, in the context of a mixed group, it may refer to other animals used for transport.

Image Credit:

Indus Script Sign Number 1076: List of Sign Variants: Iravatham Mahadevan, 1977: The Indus Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables: The Director General Archaeological Survey of India.


1. Xu Shen, 121: Radical number 11; Character number 233: Shuowen Jiezi (Explaining and Analyzing Characters): Source: Accessed: 1 September 2014.