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Add your comments on any of these puzzles
Unknown language on postcard
The image below was sent in by Joan Bricollé, who
wanted to know what language the text on this postcard is in,
and what it says.
Solution (submitted by David Salo)
The language is Catalan (slightly influenced by Castilian Spanish),
enciphered with a simple substitution cipher, which is as follows:
A: I B: V C: S D: P E: U F: L
G: Z H: F I: A L: R LL: M M: LL
N: K O: E P: B Q: C R: D S: G
T: J U: O V: Ñ X: Q
The text reads as follows
Ageraki... ! Purade llerj cou g'isi-
vak icoujg paig p'isgukgai...
Dúg, jdeve cou ka jik gerg
bozoa sellbidid-fe iv ri juñi sell-
bik[?]ái... Ke jdeve iragaukj
uk mes, ka dúg llu pagjduo.
Ujg jó, ri okási budgeki cou'll
li biggid urg dijég lurageg.
¡Coik dusedpe ur pallusdug i
ri jidpu...! Ga fizougag
ñakzoj iv lla sell puaig, ll'i-
zdipidái llug icougj bevru, cou
Direct decipherment of the text
Isolina...! Deliro molt que s'aca-
bin aquets dias d'acsencia...
Rés, trobo que no tan sols
pugui comparar-ho ab la teva com-
panyía... No trobo alisient
en lloc, ni rés me distreu.
Ets tú,, la uníca persona que'm
fa passar els ratós felisos.
¡Quan recordo el dimecres a
la tarda...! Si haguesis
vingut ab mi com deias, m'a-
gradería mes aquest poble, que
The text in standard Catalan
Isolina...! Deliro molt que s'acabin aquests dies d'absència... Res
trobo que ni tan sols pugui comparar-ho amb la teva companyia... no
trobo al·licent enlloc, ni res em distrau. Ets tu, l'única persona qu em
fa passar els ratos feliços. ¡Quant recordo el dimecres a la tarda...!
Si haguessis vingut amb mi com deies, m'agradaria més aquest poble que
Isolina! I am very much delirious about these days of absence coming to
an end. I find nothing that I can even compare to your company... I can
find no charm anywhere, and nothing entertains me. It is you, the only
person that makes me spend happy moments. I remember Wednesday afternoon
so much! If you had come with me as you said, I would like more this
village that I currently hate.
The rendition of the text in standard Catalan and the translation into
English were done by Manuel Hurtado Ferrández and Dago Lesmes. The
cracking of the cipher was begun by David Salo and completed by them. Any errors
or omissions are strictly David's fault.
The item pictured below was found hanging in a tree in Cheltenham, England
in the 1980s by Kelly Bevan. On the manuscript contained within it is a text
in an unknown language. Kelly has been told that the script is an early form
of Devanagari and that the text might possibly be a Pali commentary on a
Tibetan document. If you can add any further information, please contact Kelly at:
According to Aniruddha Basu, the script is a form of Nagari (may be eastern Nagari -
mother to modern Bengali, Oriya and Assamese scripts) and he thinks that it would date
from around 9th to 10th century, may be even a bit later, considering the development
of its letters.
As for the language, he recognises certain conjuncts and syllables that would be
pronounced "sva", "shvaryya" "karmya" etc., which do not appear in Pali. He thinks he
also recognises some words such as "raajaa" = king; "svabhaava" = a person's nature;
"smasta-prajaa" = all the king's subjects; "simhaasana" = king's throne. Maybe it
is written in some mid-late Middle Indo-Aryan language (1st - 11th century CE),
but he's fairly sure that it's not Pali.
According to Arun Upadhyay: This is the Devanagari script used in Rajisthan
and Bihar from 1700-1900. Later type faces changed the shapes of some letters.
It indicates the names of some kings: Vikramaditya (second part), Lunakaran
(some kings of Rajsthan-named after the Luni river). Some words like Simhasana
= throne, Patrika (letter, circular), Ju = word of respect for kings). This
could be a letter sent in that wooden box. Some letters/words are missing,
so the complete meaning is not clear. The letter 'R' is now similar in the
Japanese royal mirror
Here's a puzzle sent in by Adam Epstein
This is an inscription on one of three of the Japanese Emperor's royal
items. It is the back of a mirror, some say it holds the key to the
origin of the Japanese people. This sketch was taken by a general who
was allowed to see the mirror, so it may not be completely accurate.
If anyone can figure out the letters or meaning that would be great.
Some say the middle letters are Hebrew (spelling alef, yud, daled and
yud kay vav kay, meaning Light of G-d), but it's a stretch.
According to Avery Morrow, the answer to this puzzle can be found
in Takenouchi Documents II.
The drawing was made not by a general, but by a sort of
ancient astronaut called Yano Yutaro. Furthermore, Yano's drawing was
secret, and the drawing on this website was published not by him but
by another researcher named Wado Kosaka who wrote the book.
The characters are what Yano called "Hifu characters", a type
of script only he could read. According to Wado, Yano transliterated
the characters as follows:
Translation: Heavenly Sun god gave a mirror, necklace and sword, the
three sacred treasures, which are the most sacred treasures in the world.
The Sumera-Mikoto was determined to be the only eternal one under heaven.
Look at the mirror as you look at me, the Heavenly Sun god.
This is what Wado says Yano drew. There's another person named
Mori Arinori, a Meiji-period Minister of Education who claims to have
seen the words "I AM THAT I AM" in Hebrew on the back of the mirror.
Writing on vase
These characters appear on a vase belonging to Deborah Moses.
According to Michael DePaula, the characters appear to be 陶瓷 (táocí), which mean "ceramics".
According to Teresa Alvarez, the shorthand is Gregg, most likely
the version taught from 1949 through the mid 1960's.
We marched down in front of a long cutter and the main (street _____)
behind the cutters looked at our ______ on our bow and threw things into
this matters to have ….. as a bag. We then marched into a room and cut
in front of a bin like compartment where we try on clothing as it was
cold out to us. In fact, we had to put on and take off clothing fastly
then there was _______ too much up to put man’s _____ out the orders.
If anything failed to fit we then had to exchange it and as I hid entering
to exchange the clothing was then taken into a stenciling room and a man
there stenciled on my clothing MAUK ____ B. The last thing we ____ were
the materials below and some wool blankets. Those on a ……. heavily over
to the barracks with it having them drag on the ground. [2 sentences
omitted here –indecipherable] We had Jack/Jake and then our pictures
were taken for our ID card. All of them looked like convicts …..
T.B. 4 taken out of medical lan/lane(?) … the … grow in his nose and he
spent only the … night in the brigs with us and we went to the hospital
there at _____ Lakes. I never saw him from then on as he was in … company …
We only spent one night on main side and next day we were marched over
to the Green Bay by our C.O. We march into their empty barracks and
check bunks … and we had our Billet No (Bunk No 81) issued. ____ on
local bunk of the two deck bunks we slept in. Our CO Mont Heard SPA3/C
Inscription on knife
According to Panos, the inscription reads:
"mahairi kritiko krato pou den (I 'm holding a Cretan knife)
"sikoni astia (.) prosexe mannas (who take no jokes)
"genima min dosis tin aitia" (Be careful mothers birth, don't give me the quarrel)
Suggestions from Carl Mashtay
The second character with 'fine floss, mì' radical 120 and 'see'
radical 147 (but more below) is pronounced in pure Japanese mayu
[stress on first syllable] or Chinese jian (with low rising tone),
meaning a 'cocoon'. The first character is indeed 'govern, cure, heal,
manage' but in Chinese, zhì (falling tone) also means 'to unravel (silk)',
and so the disyllabic phrase means 'to unravel a cocoon'. That jian3 is
actually a grass radical top, radical 140; a border prairie radical 13;
a centered downward bar; a left inside floss radical 120; a right inside
worm radical 142, but old texts also show it to be 'floss + see (phonetic)'.
According to Ryusei Yamaguchi the charcter on right is 親 (relatives,
parents; intimate). The name is 親治 and it might be read
Inscription on Sword
TJ believes that the letters are Old Cyrillic.
Another suggestion (from Anon):
- I wasn't able to fully recognize the last letter in third line (which is found in the fourth line as well, as the fourth last letter) which most likely is a ligature, where I believe the last part is н, as suggested in the image. The first part of it, the rounding, could maybe be a part of ф?
- I wasn't able to recognize the second letter in the very last line (which is found also as the second last letter in the same line), and it could possible be some kind of punctuation or maybe decoration.
- I believe the various filled triangles which are appended to some of the letters, like in line two, three, four and five, may be nothing more than decorations.
- I believe the "flying e/p-like letters" (the third letter in line one, fourth letter in line two, second letter in line four and the third letter in line five) are the Russian er's (Russian: р; Latin: r) based on the shapes used in various birch bark letters, like in #69 dating 1280-1300.
- I believe the "eight/8-like letters" (the second and fifth letters in line two, third letter in line four, third last letter in line five and third last letter in line six) are the Russian uk's (Russian: (о)у; Latin: u) based on the shapes used in various birch bark letters, like in #65 dating 1300-1320.
- I believe the "h-like letter" (the second letter in line three) is simply a Russian i (Russian: и; Latin i) based on the fact that the Н/И shapes were used interchangeably for И, like in #3 dating 1360-1380, while the N shape was mostly used for the modern Russian Н. It's worth noticing that the letter (the second letter in line three) looks broken, but in many situations letters were written with two separate strokes, which were not connected, like the K was often written with one line, looking like an I, and another looking like an arrow, <, but were read as one, K. It could however also be a reference to the so-called half H, which represented a short vowel-sound, introduced to the Latin alphabet by Claudius around 41-54.
- I believe the "lightening-like letters" (the third last and last letters in line four, and part of the third letter/ligature in line six) are Russian ze's (Russian: з; Latin: z) based on the shapes used in various birch bark letters, like in #27 dating 1380-1400.
- I believe the first ligature in line four is an Russian і-а/я ligature based on the shapes used in various birch bark letters, like in #91 dating 1360-1
One has to remember that scribes were not always consistent with letter shapes,
which I also already pointed out in one of the notes. In some birch bark letters
an q-shape actually represents a, and a H-shape may actually represent the Russian
tse (Russian: ц; Latin: ts) while the tse-form in turn sometimes represented
a Russian en (Russian: н; Latin: n) So one must obviously have a longer text
to see and figure which shapes are used for what.
Looking at the transcribed texts don't make much sense, true. Clusters of
vowels and consonants with no real meaning. It could mean four (or more) things: 1)
It could be random letters written just for the purpose of the decoration, and if
the scribe was illiterate and had to depend on a bad memory, it could explain the
various shapes; 2) The letters may not have been based on sounds, but rather numerals,
using the Cyrillic numerals. However, some of the shapes are not known to have any
common value, which is why I have used a question-mark in the image. Also, I wasn't
able to make sense of the numbers, I couldn't even fetch a date or year out of it;
3) The various letters could have inherited vowels, based on the letters' names; 4)
It could be a mix of written words, acronyms and ligatures, which made sense to the
scribe and the reader. Just consider the simple example with the Latin &, which
reads "et" (English: and).
I don't say any of this is correct: it may or may not be in the Early Cyrillic
alphabet, I don't know for sure. The shapes are there, but the text and sounds don't
make much sense. Maybe somebody else can take it further.
Unknown writing on shawl
Evans Knight suggests that the 'writing' doesn't actually say anything at all.
It seems that it was just arbitrarily designed to simulate the Arabic script.
Carl Mashtay thinks that the writing is Arabic and is the latter half
of "(laa 'laah) ilaa 'llaah" '(There is no God) but God@
Aniruddha Basu thinks that the writing is "laa ilaah illa Allah" (there is
no God but Allah). The initial alifs are consistently joined to the ensuing
laams, not a very unusual practice. The final 'h' of the "ilaah", though,
seems to be missing - may be we can take it as artistic license.
The inscription is Sanskrit and reads "Om Namaha Shiva(ya)", which means
"I bow to Shiva" and is a mantra used for meditation.
Another Hebrew inscription
Suggestions from TJ
Here's a possible translation of the inscription:
Ma'andil Fayn-shtayn [Mendel Feinstein]
noladah po rosh hodesh shivat 5665 (born here in first of Shivat, year 5665)
Sherah Fayn-Shtayn (the noble Feinstein)
niftarah po hamasha 'ashar 5682 (died here in Iyar, 15th, year 5682)
The years are in Hebrew calendar: 5665 is almost equivalent to
1905 and 5682 is almost equivalent to 1922.
Solution from AH
נפ[טר] ר[אש] ח[ודש] שבט תרס"ח
נפ[טרה] ט"ו אייר תרפ"ב
passed away Rosh Hodesh (the first of the month of) Shevat 5668
passed away 15 Iyar 5682
(These dates correspond, respectively, to Jan. 4, 1908, and May 13, 1922.)
Typically you would find such a memorial plaque on the wall of
a synagogue, or on a Jewish ritual object donated to a synagogue.
Suggestions from TJ
The Hebrew inscription seems to be a memorial for a lady called
Ester Mizrachi (and the Mizrachi family is one of few jewish families
that remained in Egypt after the formation of Israel).
Although lot of words couldn't be read because of the low quality
pictures, and the use of Gershayim (signs used in hebrew for abbreviations),
it seems that the lady is called "the virtuous of all women" or "the
purest of women." With some acronyms it seems that she died in February
or the month of Shbat according to the hebrew calendar.
The few words that could be read are:
t-t-h-l-l (to be praised)
ha-Kosherah b-nashim (virtuous of women)
B-Shb''t (acronym) min ha-'olam (february, from this world)
Ester (Aster) Mizrachi
Yahodah Na'arah (young jew)
Solution from AH
It's a tombstone and the inscription reads as follows:
אשה יראת ה' היא תתהלל
הזקנה הכשרה בנשים
הנפטרת בש[ם] ט[וב] מן העולם
מ[רת] אסתר מזרחי נ[שמתה] ע[דן]
אשת המ[כובד? נוח?] משה יהודה מזרחי
נ[לקחה] לב[ית] ע[ולמה] יום כ"א לח[ודש] מרחשון
The place of burial of
a woman who fears G-d, she shall be praised
the elderly, most virtuous of women
who leaves this world with a good name
Mrs. Esther Mizrahi, her soul is in Eden
wife of the (honored? late?) Moshe Yehudah Mizrahi
brought to her eternal rest on the 21st of the month of Marcheshvan
(The date corresponds to Oct. 31, 1923.)
Coin from Constantinople
Can you make out the writing on this coin? It was sent in by
SuAnne Droddy, who has worked out part of the inscription: "...
minted in Constantinople 1327". Please send your suggestions to
According to TJ, the inscription reads:
(glorified his victory) عز نصره
(minted in) ضرب في
Message in a bottle
This scrap of paper was found in a bottle floating in Horsens Fjord, Denmark.
The alphabet (Arabic) and prevailing ocean currents would seem to indicate that
its origin is to be found in the west of North Africa (maybe Morocco). If you
can make any sense of it, please contact Jens Bilgrav - isp-30[at]fak[dot]dk
Suggestions from TJ
The paper is definitely a talisman and the scattered letters have no meaningful
occurence linguistically ... but someone with occult knowledge of letters would
understand what they signify.
The phrase on the top right is: بسم الله
(Besmilláh Al-Rahmán Al-Raheem), which means "In (by) the name of Allah, the Beneficent,
the Merciful." A famous phrase that should be said before starting reading Quran (or
even before doing anything, for blessings).
Brian Fisher sent in this image of a mysterious book which he believes
comes from Africa. The book is made of wood with bone covers. If you have
any suggestions, please contact Brian at: email@example.com
Brian has discovered that the writing is in the Toba Batak Script of Sumatra,
Indonesia and that it's a book of divination called Pustaha.
Can you recognise or read the inscriptions on this knife? If you can,
please contact Mike Wochna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to TJ, the writing in the first photo is in the Arabic script
and probably in the Uyghur language. It reads ئهخمهت,
which is a-xma-t or axmat in the Latin alphabet. This is a Turikic verison
of the Arabic name Ahmed - probably the name of an owner of the knife.
Mike has now discovered that the knife comes from Yengisar in the Xinjiang
Uyghur Region of northwesterrn China. So it looks like TJ is correct.
Pavan Periwal would like to know what language the inscription on this
coin is in, what it means, and the approximate age of the coin. If you
can help, please contact: email@example.com
Here's some information about the coin from TJ:
- The coin is Indian, dating most probably from the Mughal era and/or East India Company.
- The coin was minted during the 49th Regnal Year (RY, or called sometimes the frozen year).
- The mintage took place in some area probably called "Karwarborand" or
"Karvarborand" and the chances that this place's name is still as it was are weak.
- The name of the ruler is not obvious, but he is "son of Mohammed" as it appears.
Meaning, his father name was Mohammed.
- Probably he bore the title "Imamuddin."
- The usually word for "minted in" is "doreb" or "darb" [ضرب],
but instead the word "sak" [سك] is mentioned here.
Both words in Arabic can mean mintage but the most widely used
one is "Darb".
Can anybody identify this symbol? It looks like a Chinese character, but
I can't work which one. If you can, please contact:
Solution suggested by TJ
The symbol is a version of the Chinese character 壽 [寿]
shòu, which means 'long life'.
Writing on chest
This mysterious writing was sent in by Doc. G. Bancalà and is inscised on
a brass plate on a chest. The alphabet looks like Gujarati. Can anyone decipher
it? If you can, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Solution from Sanjay Sapre
The inscription on the chest reads as follows:
Rawla Damodar Viswanath rahewasi Gosahunava naa
chhe Savan na Chaitar sudi :2: var ravivar.
From the house of Damodar Viswanath [name of
the person or the family name of the house],
the resident of Gosahunava [name of the place],
was no more on Sunday the second of the month of
Chaitra in the year of sanvat .
The image on the right was sent in by Glenda Fessenden
It belonged to Glenda's grandfather, who lived in China before WW2. It was
apparently made for him as an honor. Glenda would like to know if anybody
can decipher the characters or provide any information about the age of
Possible solution, suggested by Pangus Ho
The characters are 齊肖公柬
(qí xiào gōng jiăn). The first means "equal, uniform",
the second means "to resemble", the third means "unselfish, unbiased, fair,
public" and the fourth means "a letter, an invitation, a card, or to select". What
they mean together we don't know.
Some additional information suggested by Hanbing Feng
The character "qí" probably refers to the kingdom of Qi of
the 3rd century BC because the shape of this medallion is very similar
to the ancient currency of Qi.
Suggestions by Xiao-Jia Ng of M'sia
The writing probably means "sent by (given by?) Xiao of Qi" The 4th character
could mean letter, send etc. The 2nd and 3rd identify the sender as a man with
the surname Xiao With the first character, Qi, I suppose it's a gift tag of sorts.
Kosovo stone inscription
This photo was sent in by Fred Ganous (email@example.com),
who found the stone featured in it in Kosovo. The inscription looks
like (Old) Church Slavonic to me,
but I'm not sure. Can anybody help?
Partial solution suggested by Father Christopher Buckner
The lower half of the inscription appears to be a variation of the
traditional Christian logo found in the Middle East. The 4 quadrants
are formed around a cross and represent 3 words:
IC [with the contraction bar] are the first and last letters of
the word for JESUS [roughly, IESOUS].
Similarly, the XC [with the contraction bar] are the first and
last letters of the word for CHRIST [roughly, CHRISTOS].
- The 3rd and 4th quadrants read from left to right a complete
4 letter word (i.e. no contraction; I don't understand the
contraction bar over the letters) "NIKA". It means "conqueror".
Hence the Logo with the Cross means, "Jesus Christ, Conqueror".
This is a common logo in many of the Eastern Rite Churches, Greek,
Russian, etc (Catholic as well as Orthodox).
Inscription on watch
Can anybody decipher this inscription?
If you can, please contact me.
According to Francisco Peña Blas, the inscription is "3quir 3quo u3ur cnodar",
which may be translated into "SEquir SEquo uSEur CAnodar" > "sequir sequo usura canodar".
This could be Ido mean something like "Follow a sequence become usury" or "Take it easy!".
According to TJ, the first word could be gequir. which means "to leave"
in Occitan, or it could be sequir. The third word could be "ugur", "ugus", "uzur",
"uzus", "usur" or "usus".
According to Paolo Sartori, the inscriptions reads "et quis et quo vetus"
Do you have any ideas what the symbols on this Medallion mean?
If you do, please write to Alicia:
According to Robbie Hart, the symbols on the top are defintely of
alchemical derivation, though the only one that is really clear
is the top middle character, which can mean either 'cadmium' or
'arsenic'. The symbol to the left of it could be 'lead', turned
sideways, and the element below that appears similar to a cursive
superscript 'M' can refer to the alchemical process of seperation.
So he would hazard a guess that the medallion is a spell, charm, recipe,
or the like.
Inscription on coin
This inscription appears on a coin bought in Greece. It has a picture of St.
George on the obverse. If you can decipher the inscription, please contact
Joni Hickey at:
Possible solution from Jens Jensen
The coin might be Byzantine and the inscription reads "SPHRAGIS IONOU TOU IS(O)U".
The first two words could mean something like "Ionos's seal" or "seal of the Ionians".
The second two perhaps "[on the basis] of equality".
Latin prayer in unknown alphabet
While doing some research on the catholic church, Marco Alexandre
found the following image, which appears to be a Latin prayer translated
into an unknown language/alphabet. Any ideas?
The Latin prayer
Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra salve.
Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Hevae;
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia ergo, advocata nostra
illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte,
Et Jesum, benedictum fructum venris tui,
nobis post hoc exilium o stende.
O clemens, O pia,
O dulcis Virgo Maria.
Solution by Gabriel Norsan
The alphabet is unknown but the language is some kind of old Portuguese.
Salve Rainha Maim de mizericordia
vida dusura esperamsa nosa salve
A vos bradamus us degredadus filhus de Eva
A vos suspiramus jememdu i xuramdu
neste vale de lagrimas
Aia pôis adevogada nosa
eses vosus olhus mizericurdiozus e nos volvai
depôis deste desterro mustrainus Jezus
bemditu frutu du vosu vemtre
O clememte o piedoza
O dôse sempre Virjaim Maria
Rugai pur nos samta Maim de Deus
Para qe sejamus digenus das prumessas de
In modern spelling
Salve Rainha Mãe de misericórdia
vida, doçura, esperança nossa salve
A vós bradamos os degradados filhos de Eva
A vós suspiramos gemendo e chorando
neste vale de lágrimas
Eia pois advogada nossa
esses vossos olhos misericordiosos a nos volveis
depois deste desterro mostrai-nos Jesus
bendito fruto do vosso ventre
Ó clemente ó piedosa
Ó doce sempre Virgem Maria
Rogai por nós santa Mãe de Deus
Para que sejamos dignos das promessas de
Mysterious writing on a basket
Solution from Ian James
The script is northern Tham, of which Lanna is the standard form.
The language is Thai. The origin is north Thailand. I think the text
is a form of proverb. I am a little uncertain of the first line, so
I offer 2 versions. The first follows the script more closely;
the second allows variation, but makes more sense.
(lid; using tone numbers 1 2 3 4 for low, falling, high, rising)
 poen lao2 taan-jaa khuan |
 koen lao2 kaan-jorn chuan |
lab1 khaw4 hue2 dai2 ngoen muen1
tuen1 khaw hue2 dai2 ngoen saen4
khon booraan pen khon jai-bun
Poen told Taanjaa (that he might be) persuaded:
Asleep, beg for funds 10,000;
Wake and beg for funds 100,000.
People of old were benevolent people.
Too much liquor (and for) casual expenses (you must) persuade (someone):
On going to bed, beg for funds 10,000;
On getting up, beg for funds 100,000.
People of old were benevolent people.
[a current anti-drink advertisement on Thai TV presents a similar image]
According to Vic Fieger, this is probably Gregg shorthand and reads "South side door is unlocked".
Inscription on bell
The inscription on this bell, which is apparently a camel bell, is
in the Devanagari alphabet.
According to an Indian friend of TJ, the inscription is the name of a
person, Mabaasaaram Jagadish Prasad from the town of Jalesar.
This inscription appears on a house in Bucharest, Romania.
The writing is in the Devanagari alphabet.
According to an Indian friend of TJ, the writing is most likely
the name of the owner of this house and reads Edal Dutch,
who probably spent time in India.
Table with Arabic script
Apparently the symbols on this table are simply used for decoration
and don't mean anything.
Writing on rug
According to TJ, the writing is Arabic and reads
لا إله إلاّ الله
(Laa ilaha illa Allah), which means "there is no god but Allah". This kind of rug
would normally be hung on a wall.
Writing on rug
The photo below shows part of a rug that was apparently bought in
Kashmir. The rug seller claimed that the writing was Arabic.
The writing starts from the middle, after the flower, going from there
right to left. The half of the inscription on the right hand side (from the
right hand corner to the flower in the middle) is a perfectly symmetrical
copy of the writing on the left half. It is the words 'alaihi ("on him" ,
or "on it") and Allah (Muslim name for God) both written twice. The first
word 'alaihi is written with minor calligraphic errors, but Allah is written
In the latter half of the 90's in Pakistan the name of Allah
started appearing on carpets and rugs, on the underside of shoes, on musallas,
on the seats of chairs etc. The Islamic newspapers made a lot of hue and cry,
and claimed that it was a Jewish plot to disrespect the name of Allah by printing
on products which are sat or trodden on. None of the products had the name
of the manufacturers, and after threats were made that the manufacturers will
be traced and lynched, the products disappeared from the market. This carpet
seems to be from the same time.
Mystery inscription on ring
According to TJ, the inscription reads رضافٍ خرانرد
(Ridhali Kheraverd), which seems to be the name of the maker of the ring. Ridhali is a
combination of two names, Ridha and Ali
and combining names like this is common habit among Persians.
According to k., Khodaverd is more likely to be a Turkish surname - in modern Turkish the
name would be "Riza Ali Hudaverdi".
According to TJ, this is a replica of the alchemical Key of Solomon talisman
that was used to increase one's overall happiness and success in life by balancing
the planetary powers. The bearer of this talisman was said to be protected from
all devious spirits and negative energy.
Writing on key
According to TJ, the writing on the key is a bunch of random Arabic
letters and doesn't mean anything. He thinks the key might be some sort
Solution from V Vandian
The writing is the weaver's first name, first initial of her father's name,
then - first initial of her last name, and the date (day/month in Latin/year):
Anik Kh. A. 11/XII/55 y.
According to TJ, the writing says "maa shaa'allah"
(ما شاء الله).
This literally means "as God wills" and is the phrase
that Arabic-speaking people usually use when they see
something abundant, beautiful or amazing.
According to AH, the text on this coaster is in
the Cyrillic alphabet and reads Чешcкая
пивница (Cheshskaya pivnitsa)
- Czech beer pub. Googling it turns up some references to a business
of that name in St. Petersburg, Russia
The devices in the center are half of the emblem of Russia (a
double-headed eagle) and half of the emblem of Bohemia (a
two-tailed lion rampant).
According to TJ, this piece is a Sura from Quran. See the following links:
According to Ross Kirsling, the Chinese on the scroll reads:
(yuan4 yi3 ci3 gong1 de2 pu3 ji2 yu2 yi1 qie4
wo3 deng3 yu4 zhong4 sheng1 jie1 gong4 cheng2 fo2 dao4)
It comes from Chapter 7 of the Lotus Sutra, apparently, and means:
"We beg that the merit gained through these gifts
may be spread far and wide to everyone,
so that we and other living beings
all together may attain the Buddha way."
Information about the Lotus Sutra can be found at:
According to a Chinese friend of TJ, the signature is of a famous chinese
artist: 马玉良 (Mǎ Yùliáng)
Possible explanation from Tam Hien Le
The symbol is most likely the Hindu/Buddhist "AUM" or "OM" sacred syllable,
as written in the Siddham script or in a script similar to it. One may notice
however that the upper horizontal stroke of the "A" has been merged with the
"candra" (half-moon). Moreover, the meaning of the three tiny dots (placed
vertically) on the far-right is unknown.
According to TJ, the symbol looks like the Siddham symbol vahm,
and the dots denote aspiration. He got this from:
One view of the writing
Another view of the writing
Colin's transcription of the writing
Solution from TJ
This text comes from the Quran - part of surah 4, phrase 77.
qul mataAAu alddunya qaleelun waal-akhiratu khayrun limani ittaqa
Say: 'Short is the enjoyment of this world: the Hereafter is the best for those who do right;'
(Yusuf Ali translation)
Say, 'The enjoyment of this world is but slight, and the next is better for him who fears;'
According to Nikhil Sinha, the writing is Devanagari. The top bit reads ja: 3:98
(or 88 or 99), while the bottom bit reads go:2:30. He doesn't know what this means
though. It may just refer to some passage from a text, like the way you do in the
Apparently the numbers refer in the place in the armory where the weapons were stored.
Solutions from TJ
The date 1223 AH is almost equivalent to 1808 AD, which was the year
the sultan Mahmood came to the throne after his brother. Mahmood (in modern
Turkish now it's written Mahmut) is also called Mahmut II.
The Qusus Manuscript
The question was whether you could decipher the script at:
Apparently the script is Old Javanese.
The image below is of a copper coin found in southern Germany
and sent in by Philipp Weig (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Can anybody identify the script on the coin?
According to Sami Kleit, the script on the coin is an old Middle
Eastern script from about 600 BC closely related to Nabatean, and
the old scripts of Arabic and Hebrew. The language is either Nabatean,
Aramaic or Syriac.
Solution suggested by Abdul-Rahman Sibahi
The writing is definitely in the Arabic script and in Arabic.
Solution from TJ
Coin with Hebrew writing on it
Solution from TJ
The writing on the right reads "Masheeh (Malooka) Shalom v'Ares
Arem 'Itavi Hu". This probably means "Messiah, the promise of peace and the protective
name. My protection is he." Some words had been cut with the rest of the word
on next line.
On the other side of the coin, the letter on the right is "Aleph", which
denotes the "One" (its numerical value is also one) and it is the sign of
Lord in Kabbalah and the ultimate light. The other symbol is a feast or a
hand, or "the feast of Lord."
This medalion or coin is a kabbalistic piece intended to try to bring
what is called the tikkun, something that helps to balance the
forces in life.
For more information about the tikkun, see:
According to Simcha Kuritzky, this piece was made by Christian
kabalists. The 'fist' before Jesus' face is in fact the Hebrew
inscription Yeshu (yod shin vov), which was accepted as one of the
Hebrew spellings of Jesus' name.
Apparently the second letter in the first word is a tet
not a shin so this word should read metayah. The first
letter could be a mem or a samech. The second line
of the coin should read maloocha and at the very end of that
second line there are two letters, a chaf and a shin,
which makes the word chash. The second word in the third line
could read ares or it could read arem.
Ohio River Coin
Karen Barnett found this coin on a bank of the Ohio River.
Solution from Francisco Peña Blas
The coin appears to be a copper imitation of a Castilian "Real de Plata"
(Silver Real) of the Catholic Kings. It is a coin from the last years of
the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th.
The picture on the left is the front, with the coats of arms of the Kingdoms
of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Granada, and the Latin inscription "Fernandus
et Elisa" (Ferdinand and Elizabeth/Ysabela).
The picture on the right has a yoke and some arrows tied together,
symbols of the unity of Hispanic kingdoms, and the Latin inscription
"Rex et regina de Castella legina".
Additional information from Anton Sherwood
The arrows (flechas) are for Ferdinand and the yoke (yugo)
This postcard was mailed from Brooklyn, NY, is addressed to Hanni Dittrich
in Dresden, Saxony, Germany, and is dated 1904.
See a larger version of the above image
Solution from Nicole Ulms
The postcard is in German, though written in a very strange kind of
handwriting. So, for instance, III is M; \ is E; and II is N; - is B; and so
on. Punctuation is quite arbitrary; most words are seperated by
semicolon; there are no periods and no capitals. Additionally, there are a
lot of terms of endearment I never learnt to translate at school... So this
is what I found out, starting at the top, by lines:
Mein Herz, herzinnigst, einziggeliebtes, gutes, herzteures Herzhannichen!
Meinen Brief vom 22. Okt. hoffe ich in Deinem Besitze. Heute abend erhielt
ich unter grosser, grosser Herzensfreude Deine lieben, niedlichen Kärtchen
vom 12. Okt. Herzlichsten Dank dafür, mein Herz, herzliebes, gutes Herzliebchen!
Hoffentlich hast du mir das versprochene Briefchen in den ersten Tagen
voriger Woche geschrieben, damit ich solches morgen oder übermorgen früh
erhalte. Ich freue mich schon unbeschreiblich darauf. In Zukunft schreibe
mir, mein herzinnigstgeliebtes Hezblättchen, nur stets rege. Nächsten
Montag und Donnerstag bis mittags musst du aber mit (deinen - canceled) Schreiben
damit sie den Dampferanschluss noch rechtzeitig Mittwoch und
Sonnabend früh erreichen!
My heart, heartfelt, only beloved, good, dearest heart-Hannichen(=name)!
My letter from oct. 22 I hope to be in your possession. Tonight (I) got
in great, great joy of heart your kind, cute card(let)s
from Oct. 12. Hearty thanks for that, my heart, beloved, good Darling!
Hopefully you (wrote) to me the promised letter in the first days
of the last week; so I'll (get) that one tomorrow or the the day after in the
morning. I'm already looking forward to it ineffably. In future write
to me just quite briskly, my heartfelt beloved sweetheart. (But) Next
monday and thursday you must (have finished) (your - canceled)
writing so they (will catch) the steamboat connection still in time on
wednesday and saturday morning.
Right side vertically:
/Dass es der lieben Grossmutter/ besser geht und sie das Bett.../
That the dear grandmother feels better and she (has left) the bed...
/nun verlassen hat, freut mich/ sehr. Grüsse sie bitte von mir herzlichst!/
now, makes me very glad. Please send my love to her.
/Gestern vormittag holte ich mit Freund Vollmer(?) Mr. Hasbler(?) vom Dampfer/
Yesterday morning me and friend Vollmer (picked up) Mr. Hasbler from the steamboat.
/ab. Er hatte einen grossartige Reise, schönes Wetter, ruhige See, von/
He had a great journey, good weather, calm sea, from
Inscription on sword
"Tanto Monta, Monta Tanto" was the motto that appeared on the Spanish
Royal Standard of the Catholic Kings from 1492-1506. It refers to both
Catholic monarchs: Isabella and Ferdinand and loosely translates as:
"As much as the one is worth, so much is the other". This meant that
the King and Queen held equal authority.
According to Ronald Kyrmse, the rest of the inscription seems to read
"MEMENTO MEI O / MATER DEI MEI", which is Latin for "Remember me, o mother
of my God".
There is some discussion about this sword at:
A number of you have sent solutions to this puzzles to Shirlene, however
she has been having problems with her email and has lost those messages.
Could you re-send them to her, and copy me in? Thank you.
Comments on any of these puzzles
Puzzles archive 2 |