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Ranjana alphabet

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Title: Ranjana alphabet  
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Collection: Brahmic Scripts, National Symbols of Nepal, Newar, Newar Language
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Ranjana alphabet

Rañjanā
Type
Languages Newar
Sanskrit
Tibetan
Time period
c. 1100–present
Parent systems
Brahmi
Child systems
Soyombo
Sister systems
Prachalit
Litumol
Street sign in Kathmandu in Ranjana, Devanagari and English.
Signboard of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office in Ranjana script (second row).

The Rañjanā script (syn: Kutila, Lantsa[1]) is an abugida writing system which developed in the 11th century.[2] It is primarily used for writing the Newar language but is also used in Buddhist monasteries in India, China, Mongolia, and Japan.[2] It is normally written from left to right but the Kutakshar form is written from top to bottom.[2] It is also considered to be the standard Nepali calligraphic script.

Contents

  • Development 1
  • Alphabet 2
    • Vowels 2.1
    • Consonants 2.2
    • Vowel diacritics 2.3
    • Numerals 2.4
  • Use 3
  • Lanydza 4
  • Monogram (Kutākshar) 5
  • Since 20th century 6
  • Gallery 7
  • Unicode 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Development

Rañjanā is a Brahmi script and shows similarities to the Devanagari script of North India and Nepal.[1] The script is also used in most of the Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries.[3] Along with the Prachalit Nepal alphabet, it is considered as one of the scripts of Nepal.[4] It is the formal script of Nepal duly registered in the United Nation while applying for the free Nation. Therefore, it is vital script to all Nepalese as well.

The Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra lettered in gold ink by Bhiksu Ananda of Kapitanagar and dating back to the Nepal Sambat year 345 (1215 CE) is an early example of the script.[5]

Alphabet

Vowels

Mantra in Rañjanā script, on the ceiling of a Buddhist temple in Tianjin, China.
a अ aḥ अः ā आ āḥ आः i इ ī ई u उ ū ऊ ṛ ऋ ṝ ॠ
ḷ ऌ ḹ ॡ e ए ai ऐ o ओ au औ å अँ aṃ अं aī अय् a:j आय् aĪ एय्

Consonants

k क kh ख g ग gh घ ṅ ङ
c च ch छ j ज jh झ ñ ञ
ṭ ट ṭh ठ ḍ ड ḍh ढ ṇ ण
t त th थ d द dh ध n न
p प ph फ b ब bh भ m म
y य r र l ल v व
ś श ṣ ष s स h ह
kṣ क्ष tr त्र jñ ज्ञ

Vowel diacritics

These are the rules for vowel diacritics in Ranjana script. There are altogether three rules where the vowel diacritics of क, ग and ब are given.

  • ख, ञ,ठ,ण,थ,ध,श uses the rule of ग
  • घ,ङ,च,छ,झ,ट,ड,ढ,त,द,न,न्ह,प,फ,ब,भ,म,य,र,ह्र,ल,ल्ह,व,व्ह,ष,स,ह,त्रuses the rule of ब
  • ज,म्ह,ह्य,क्ष, ज्ञuses the rule of क

Numerals

0 ० 1 १ 2 २ 3 ३ 4 ४ 5 ५ 6 ६ 7 ७ 8 ८ 9 ९

Use

Rañjanā "Oṃ" syllables surrounding the implements of the Four Heavenly Kings. Jing'an Temple, Shanghai, China.
Sanskrit manuscript in the Rañjanā script. Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, India, 12th century.

The Rañjanā script is used primarily to write Newari, though sometimes it is also used to write Sanskrit. In Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist traditions, it is famously used to write various mantras including the "Om mani padme hum" mantra of Avalokiteśvara, the mantra of Tara: "Om tare tuttare ture svaha", and the mantra of Manjusri: "Om ara pa cana dhi."[6][7][8] The script is also used in Hindu scriptures.[9]

In Chinese Buddhism and other East Asian Buddhism, the standard Sanskrit script for mantras and dhāraṇīs was not the Rañjanā script, but rather the earlier Siddhaṃ script that was widely propagated in China during the Tang dynasty.[10] However, in late Imperial China, the influence of Tibetan Buddhism popularized the Rañjanā script as well, and so this script is also found throughout East Asia, but is not as common as Siddhaṃ.[11]

Lanydza

When Rañjanā was introduced to Tibet, it was referred to as Lanydza (Tibetan: ལཉྫ་), which simply derives from the Sanskrit word Rañja.[10] This script varies slightly from the standard Rañjanā. In Tibet, the Lanydza variant is used to write original texts of Sanskrit.[12] Examples of such texts include the Mañjuśrīnāmasamgīti, the Diamond Sutra and the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra. The Lanydza script is also found in manuscripts and printed editions of some Sanskrit-Tibetan lexicons like the Mahāvyutpatti.

However the most frequent use for this script today is on the title pages of Tibetan texts, where the Sanskrit title is often written in Lanydza, followed by a transliteration and translation in the Tibetan script. The script is also used decoratively on temple walls, on the outside of prayer wheels, and in the drawing of mandalas.

Numerous alternative spellings of the term Lanydza exist, including the following:

  • Lanja
  • Landzha
  • Lantsa
  • Lantsha
  • Lentsa
  • Lendza

Monogram (Kutākshar)

Kutākshar is a monogram of the Ranjana script. It is only one of the Nepalese scripts that can be written in monogram.

Since 20th century

After falling into disuse in the mid-20th century, the script has recently seen dramatically increased use. It is used by many local governments such as those of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City, Bhaktapur Municipality, Thimi Municipality, Kirtipur Municipality, Banepa Municipality, in signboards, letterpads, and such. Regular programs are held in the Kathmandu Valley to promote the script and training classes are held to preserve the language. The script is being endorsed by the Nepal Bhasa movement and is used for headings in newspapers and websites.

A Nepalese-German project is trying to conserve the manuscripts of Rañjanā script.[13]

A Unicode block for the script has also been proposed by Evertype.[14]

Gallery

Unicode

References

  1. ^ a b Omniglot
  2. ^ a b c Jwajalapa
  3. ^ Folk tales from the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal: Black rice and other stories, p.47, Kesar Lall, Ratna Pustak Bhandar
  4. ^ Nepalese Inscriptions in the Rubin Collection
  5. ^ Nagarjuna Institute: Buddhist Sites of Nepal - Hiraynavarna Mahavihara
  6. ^ Teachings og Buddha
  7. ^ Dharma Haven
  8. ^ Ranjana font
  9. ^ Asian art
  10. ^ a b Chattopadhayaya, Alaka (1999). Atisa and Tibet: Life and Works of Dipamkara Srijnana: p. 201
  11. ^ Jiang, Wu (2008). Enlightenment in Dispute: The Reinvention of Chan Buddhism in Seventeenth-Century China: p. 146
  12. ^ Ranjana script and Nepal Bhasa (Newari) language
  13. ^ Ranjana Script
  14. ^ Preliminary proposal for encoding the Rañjana script in the SMP of the UCS

External links

  • Ranjana script
  • Newari/Ranjana script page on Omniglot
  • N3649: Preliminary proposal for encoding the Rañjana script in the SMP of the UCS
  • Ranjana script
  • Akṣara List of the Manuscript of Aṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā, ca. the 11-12th Centuries, Collection of Sanskrit Mss. Formerly Preserved in the China Ethnic Library
  • Akṣara List of the Sanskrit Inscriptions of Feilai peak, Hangzhou, China ( 1282-1292 CE)
  • Lantsha script
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