Jurchen script Jurchen


The Jurchen script, which is also known as Jurchi, Jurchin or Southern Tungusic, was created by Wanyan Xiyin in 1120 and officially introduced in 1145. It was modelled on the Khitan script and contains a large number of characters from Chinese, many of which were modified or distorted.

The script is known from fragments of manuscripts and inscriptions on monuments of the Jurchen empire, from the Sino-Jurchen glossary and documents of the Ming Bureau of Translators and from Ming inscriptions dating from 1413.

The Jurchen people lived in the northeast of Manchuria before the 12th century. Then in 1115 they conquered a large part of northern China, including the lands of the Khitan people, and set up the Jin dynasty. The Jin dynasty fell to the Mongols in 1234. The Jurchen people became known as Manchus in the 17th century when they conquered the whole of China and established the Qing dynasty (1680-1911).

Notable features

Used to write

Jurchen/Manchu, a member of the Tungusic branch of the Altaic language family. There are currently about 9 million Manchus living in northeastern China, of whom between 70 and 1,000 speak Manchu. Most speak only Mandarin. In Chinese, this language is known as 女眞 [女真] (nǚzhēn).

In Xinjiang in the west of China there are about 27,000 people known as Sibe, Xibo or Sibo who speak a language closely related to Manchu, though they consider themselves a separte ethnic group. The Sibe were moved to the region in 1764 by the Ch'ing emperor Qianlong.

Selection of Jurchen words

Selection of Jurchen characters

Jurchen numbers

Jurchen numerals

Sample text in Jurchen

Sample text in Jurchen

The Jurchen font used on this page was created by Jason Glavy


Information about the Jurchen people and language
http://baike.baidu.com/view/2570.htm (in Chinese)
http://iea.cass.cn/mzwz/27.htm(in Chinese)

Southern Tungusic languages

Jurchen, Manchu, Nanai, Orok / Uilta, Ulch, Xibe

Semanto-phonetic writing systems

Akkadian Cuneiform, Ancient Egyptian (Demotic), Ancient Egyptian (Hieratic), Ancient Egyptian (Hieroglyphs), Chinese, Chữ-nôm, Cuneiform, Japanese, Jurchen, Khitan, Linear B, Luwian, Mayan, Naxi, Sawndip (Old Zhuang), Sui, Sumerian Cuneiform, Tangut (Hsihsia)

Other writing systems

Page last modified: 23.04.21

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