Re: Tibetan Digits

From: Christopher John Fynn (
Date: Wed Apr 05 2000 - 19:38:14 EDT

They are a bit of a mystery to me as well - and I speak Tibetan. When these
characters were encoded it was understood that they meant digit minus one half.
I have seen U+0F2A used to indicate half a unit in plans showing the proportions
of Buddhas, temples, mandalas & etc.

However I'm told that the major use of these characters is in certain Tibetan
astronomical and astrological calculations. In making these calculations it is
apparently the custom to cross out some numbers and where such calculations are
explained or illustrated in books the numbers are shown as crossed. Although I'm
not clear about the nature of these calculations, I'm told by some Tibetans who
have studied astrology that, in this use, the value of digits does not decrease
by half when they are crossed nor do such crossed digits indicate fractions in
astrological texts.

----- Original Message -----
From: John O'Conner <>
To: Unicode List <>
Sent: Wednesday, April 05, 2000 11:30 PM
Subject: Tibetan Digits

> While perusing various characters with numeric values, I found some of
> the Tibetan digits particularly interesting:
> TIBETAN DIGIT HALF ONE (U+0F2A) value of 1/2
> TIBETAN DIGIT HALF TWO (U+0F2B) value of 3/2
> ...
> TIBETAN DIGIT HALF NINE (U+0F32) value of 17/2
> TIBETAN DIGIT HALF ZERO (U+0F33) value of -1/2
> These values struck me as so different from my typical that I am
> compelled to learn the history or significance of these values. What
> special use do these values have in Tibetan life, business, or history?
> Regards,
> John O'Conner

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