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Sawgoek ("root script", IPA: /θaːu˨˦kok/) or sawva ("insect script", /θaːu˨˦waː˨˦/) was a mythological ancient script mentioned in the Zhuang creation epic Baeu Rodo (modern Zhuang script: Baeuqloegdoz). The primordial god Baeu Ro was said to have brought sawgoek containing four thousand glyphs along with fire to the Zhuang people, however the people in their unfamiliarity with fire, stored the fire under a thatched roof, causing the house to catch on fire. The sawgoek was consumed in the ensuing conflagration, and knowledge of writing was lost. Some Zhuang scholars believe that this myth stems from a vague remembrance of sawgoek in the collective consciousness of the Zhuang people long after knowledge of the writing system had been forgotten.[1][2]

Examples of stone and pottery inscriptions from artefacts unearthed in Wuming, Pingle, and Qinzhou, Guangxi

Sawveh ("etched script", /θaːu˨˦weː˧/) refers to some 140 individual symbols inscribed on stonework, pottery, and bronzeworks excavated in western Guangxi, dating from the late Neolithic to the Bronze Age, the earliest examples being contemporary with the Shang Dynasty in the North China Plain.[2][1][3] The glyphs bear some semblance to the glyphs of the Hemudu culture, Wucheng culture, Maqiao ruins (stratum V), Taihu Late Neolithic, and other Old Yue ruins in Guangdong.[2][3] Some scholars suggest that these inscriptions are characteristic of an undeciphered logographic writing system or proto-writing, but this is disputed due to the lack of evidence of complete phrases.[2]

As Chinese cultural influence spread through the Lingnan region from the Qin Dynasty onwards, the Chinese script came to dominate the region.[4] From the Tang and Song Dynasties onwards, a script for the Zhuang languages based on Chinese characters called sawndip ("raw script", /θaːu˨˦ɗip/) came into use.[5][6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Tan, Shengmin (2003). 壮泰民族传统文化比较研究 (in Chinese). II. Guangxi People's Publishing House. pp. 798–799. ISBN 978-7-219-04915-0. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Liang, Tingwang (2000). 壮族文化概论 (in Chinese). Guangxi Educational Publishing House. pp. 496–498. ISBN 978-7-5435-2992-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Encyclopedia of the Zhuang Ethnicity Editorial Committee (April 1993). "本源书". 壮族百科辞典 (in Chinese). Guangxi People's Publishing House. ISBN 978-7-219-02476-8. Unknown parameter |trans_chapter= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Huang, Pingwen (2007). "Sinification of the Zhuang People Their Culture and Language". SEALS XII Papers from the 12th Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society 2002 (PDF). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 89–100. ISBN 978-0-85883-578-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> pp. 91–92.
  5. Hu, Hui (2006). "方块壮字字体类型研究" (in Chinese). University of Guangxi. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Fan, Lijun (2007). "古壮字、喃字与汉字比较研究" (in Chinese). Central University of Nationalities. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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