2023 Volume 164 Pages 39-66
In this paper, we consider where and for what purpose the “dots” of Tangut characters are added. After describing the structure and strokes of Tangut characters, together with the relevant terminology, we define the Tangut “dots” in question. The author investigates the original texts of Tangut characters with dots by checking the original shapes in the Tangut dictionary “Tongyin,” which exhaustively lists all the Tangut characters. As a result, it was found that the “dots” of the Tangut characters were attached to the right of the element and constituted the “part,” not the whole character. When the environment of the appearance of dots was scrutinized, it was found that the component parts to which dots were attached could be divided into two parts: Class A: a “くノ”-type and Class B: a “匕”-type. Both classes A and B have similar component parts (ノメ，ヒ). At the time of the creation of the Tangut characters, the dots functioned as an emphatic sign that distinguished the differences between similar parts (ノメvsくノ，ヒvs匕), but the author surmises that later the mere presence or absence of dots was misidentified as a distinguishing element.