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which here has the same sense as the Sanskrit root grabh- in the Vedic phrase ósadhayah phálam grbhnanti ‘the plants get (lit. take) fruit’,46) in the past participle grbh¥$ - ‘fructified, fruit-bearing’.47) And in garbha ‘fruit, embryo’.48) The ligature of ‘fig’ + ‘crab’ thus seems to express the deity even iconically: the ‘seizing’ / ‘fructifying’ deity or his ‘embryo’ is placed inside the fig tree, just as anthropomorphic deities are often depicted inside fig trees in the Indus glyptics. Particular attention may be drawn to such a deity with a goat’s or ram’s head, who seems to be the Harappan predecessor of the god Skanda in his goat- or ram-headed fertility aspect, Vis& $akha or Naigamesa, whose cult is intimately con- nected with fig trees.

New Interpretations A number of tentative interpretations not included in my book of 1994 have been presented elsewhere.49) It is possible to propose some more readings that have reasonable credibility, so to label this line of ap- proach abortive because it has stagnated and made no further progress is incorrect. I shall add one new interpretation here.

I have earlier suggested that the sign ‘dot-in-circle’ depicts ‘eye’, kan in Dravidian. The sign could also stand for the corresponding verb, ka$ n ‘to see’. Two such signs one after the other is a frequently occurring sequence in the Indus texts, which clearly forms a phrase. It can be matched with the Tamil compound kan-ka$ ni ‘overseer’.50) Another phrasal sequence ending in the ‘eye’ sign constitutes the entire inscrip- tion on a seal from Harappa (H-602), and the last two signs on several

______________________________ 46) Taittir¥$ ya-Samhit$a 6, 3, 4, 3. 47) Said of the wood-apple tree in Aitareya-Br$ahmana 2,1. 48) Sanskrit gárbha- m. ‘fruit, embryo’ seems to result from a contamination of the root grabh- in this Dravidian-influenced meaning with Sanskrit gárbha- m. ‘womb,’ y o u n g e r A v e s t a n g e r @ ß a - m . w o m b , f r o m P r o t o - I n d o - E u r o p e a n * g w o l b h - o - / * g w e l b h - , c f Greek delphús f. ‘womb’. 49) Cf. Parpola 1997; 1999: 107f.; 2003: 555–560. 50) Cf. Parpola 1994: 215. .


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