The Khitan people, who dominated a large chunk of Manchuria between
916 and 1125 AD, used two different scripts – the "large
script", which came into use in about 920 AD, the "small
script", which was reputedly created in about 925 AD by the
Khitan scholar Diela, who was inspired by the Uighur alphabet.
The two scripts were used in parallel and appear to have little in
common in terms of the forms of the characters and the ways they were
assembled into compound characters.
Used to write
Khitan, an extinct Altaic language which was once spoken in
Manchuria. The language and the Khitan people were known as 遼 (Liao)
The "large script" was written in vertical columns running
from top to bottom and from right to left. Some of the characters were
taken from Chinese, while others were independent inventions.
Selection of "large script" characters together with the
Chinese characters on which they appear to have been modelled.
The "small script" consists of 370 characters, including logograms,
syllabograms and possibly some phonograms.
Selection of "small script" characters
Khitan "small script" numerals
Information about the Khitan script and people