Image: Iravatham Mahadevan
Image: Iravatham Mahadevan

This character is related to archaic versions of the Chinese word 五, but at some point the symbol was rotated through 90 degrees. It is an ideograph of two counting rods, with lines drawn between them to find the midpoint. Hence, it is the noun midpoint.

in modern Chinese means five, the midpoint between one and nine. In archaic Chinese it meant midday (solar noon).


Repetition:

The expression 五五 in Chinese means equal shares or fifty fifty. The same expression can be found in Indus texts.

Sample Text References:

Mohenjo-daro: Pottery Graffiti, impression: M-1371 A: Sayid Ghulam Mustafa Shah and Asko Parpola, 1991: Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions: Volume 2: Page 179: Collections in Pakistan: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia.

 

Mohenjo-daro: Tablet in bas-relief: M-1419 B: Sayid Ghulam Mustafa Shah and Asko Parpola, 1991: Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions: Volume 2: Page 191: Collections in Pakistan: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia.

 

Rahman-dheri: Pottery Graffiti, incised: Rhd-153 A: Sayid Ghulam Mustafa Shah and Asko Parpola, 1991: Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions: Volume 2: Page 366: Collections in Pakistan: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia.

Comments:

Sample text M-1371 from Mohenjo-daro is an impression on a pottery goblet, of the kind that might have been used by an inn.

Inscription M-1419 concerns distance and time, so the paraphrase midway or halfway might be appropriate.

The example from Rahman-deri is a single Indus sign, which appears to have been used as a potter's mark. The symbol is incised on the lower side of a broken pot near the base.


Image Credit:

Indus Script Sign Number 2120: List of Sign Variants: Iravatham Mahadevan, 1977: The Indus Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables: The Director General Archaeological Survey of India.