Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A little more of the Tsandáli

As I hope will become clear in future posts, the Tsandáli Clan  have some cult beliefs which, though arguably "Pavarian," are nevertheless rather distinctive and quite interesting.

One way I enjoy exploring these beliefs is through iconography. I am by no means a proper artist, but I do find  that now and then I get inspired enough to produce results that are at least, well, workmanlike. One great thing  about rendering iconography, monuments, bas-reliefs etc. is that you never have to produce lively, animated scenes  (something I am not capable of). Static, wooden depictions are good enough.  It also allows you to play around  with Tsolyáni script. Use a graphics program, and you can come up with something like this one I did a couple of years ago: the grave-marker of a Tsandáli priestess of Dlamélish.

Commemorative stela marking the burial cyst of a Rashángtorà (Chief Ritual Priestess) of Dlamélish at Tsán Tsán.  In a piece of uniquely Tsandáli symbolism masquerading as orthodox Dlamélish iconography, the deceased is shown raising a silver dish to receive a droplet of Precious Jade, the fruit of a celestial Tík-tree in liquid form. Sandstone bas-relief from the Tsán Tsán Ceremonial Precinct, Tenkaré Prefecture, Káija Protectorate.

The main inscription  includes titles the deceased held in life, a brief eulogy, and two "eternal" titles she retains in the afterlife. The script may be difficult to make out at this resolution, though you are welcome to try. If you can't, perhaps it is just as well, since I know I have made at least one grammatical error, and I have used some noun-stems and compound forms that may or may not be correct Tsolyáni usage.

However, you may be able to make out the text at the top, “Sha’íya hiQorisú,” the name of the deceased, enclosed in the mouth of (i.e. uttered by) a fanged ape-like demon.

You can almost certainly decipher the larger words in the bottom register. Here, beneath the roots of the celestial Tíkyal, two of her epithets from the main inscription are echoed by kneeling figures, representing the many sacrifices she has consigned to the Demons of the Myriad Planes. “Dhálin!” cries one figure at the moment of his death, “Ssünáin!” the other, the words emanating from their mouths via speech/blood scrolls.


  1. Great work on all accounts: compliments!
    The stela is perfectly 'credible', the comments of academic / university level -if more readable than many 'authentic' papers!


  2. Hello! Tank you for your comments on my little blog; I'm trying to add people like you to it, in the "People worth listening to:" section, and I've put a link to here from there. I hope that this is all right; feel free to let me know!

    Love the grave marker!!! It's great, and if you don't mind I scare the kilts off my players with it in a game!

    yours, Chirine

  3. Jean-Louis: merci, I am glad you find it readable, I have 76 pages of this, each more pedantic than the last!

    Chirine: thank you, it is an honour to be added, and by all means, please feel free to use the image in play... but to scare them? I meant it to be uplifting! ...Small-clan girl makes good in the hierarchy, sacrifices a thousand shrieking souls to the most hideous beings imaginable, and (gracefully) ascends the mound of their shattered corpses to achieve a degree of proximity to her Deity? It's the feel-good story of the age!