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The Kitan Large Script

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Chapter Summary

The Liaoshi clearly states that the Kitans had two scripts. The first, the large script, was created on the basis of the Chinese "clerical script" with some modifications. The other, the small script, was said to have been invented in 926, and was created after contact with Uighurs. Both scripts were used throughout the Liao, and well into the Jin, but both were lost by the early Yuan. The situation was to change with the discovery in 2000 of the Epitaph of Xiao Xingyan, in Chinese, and that of his wife, the princess of Yongning prefecture, in the Kitan large script. There is a certain amount of information common to both inscriptions, which has provided a key to deciphering many more large Kitan graphs.

Keywords: Chinese text; Epitaph of Yelü Yanning; Kitan large script; Liaoshi

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