maNika, pitcher (script sign) and lapidary (rebus meaning), sememes circa 3000 B.C.

S. Kalyanaraman mdsaaa48 at
Thu Feb 20 15:54:25 UTC 1997

1) maNika = water-jar (AdbhBr., GrS.,Kaatyzr., MBh.); maNika, maNike = a pitcher (Kannada) maNi is a lexeme in Sangam Tamil (cf. the name of the second section of the anthology akanaanuuru:maNimiDaipavaLam)
2) maNikaara = lapidary, jeweller (; maNikaarakan = worker in precious stones (Sangam Tamil); maNako, maNi = a bead; a gem (Gujarati); maNer = jeweller or lapidary; vendor of bangryaa, bracelets, beads (Marathi)
3) maNiha, maNeya, maNii, maNiya = an office, a charge, a commission, a business; superintendence of temples, palaces, custom-houses (Kannada. Telugu.Marathi); maNihaara = superintendent of a palace (Kannada)  maNiyam = office of village headman (Tamil) [There is a possibility that the lexeme may be linked to 'maanya' = respected, honoured (RV. i.165.15)

I have suggested that the famous 'jar' sign (i.e. glyph of a pitcher depicted with a rim) which is the most frequently occurring terminal sign in the Harappan script inscriptions, may be read as maNika or 
maNiha and its substantive meaning interpreted as 'a lapidary-cum-custom (storage?) house functionary'. This seems to be consistent with the most prolific material finds in archaeological excavations in hundreds of sites: BEADS. For instance, even in Kunal (Ratia tehsil, Hissar Dt., Haryana) a small settlement of 3 acres excavated by J.S. Khatri and M. Acharya between 1991- 1995, the hoards of beads number as follows: 5690 lapi lazuli micro-beads, 3370 carnelian beads, 2806 steatite beads, 487 shell beads and 92 beads of agate, apart from a treasure of gold and silver ornaments placed in a vessel of silver sheet (incuding a beautiful necklace of gold beads). (Khatri, J.S. and Acharya, M., 1995, Excavations at Kunal, Puratattva, No. 25)

We seem to be dealing with a linguistic area which was a confluence of proto-versions of the present-day languages of the sub-continent. This semantic structure will define a new paradigm in linguistic studies which categorise 'families'' based on superficial 'grammatical' or 'phonetic' pattern analyses. General semantics should relate to analysis of deeper neuronal (philogeny or language) structures than the morphological ones.

Would deeply appreciate receiving critical comments and suggestions.

Regards, Kalyanaraman. (mdsaaa48 at

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