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JSesh: A Tutorial for the Best, Free Hieroglyphic Editor – Part 3

JSesh Tutorial Part 3In part 2 of our JSesh tutorial series, I covered how to create hieroglyphs using the Manuel de Codage. This is the method I prefer to use, since it is much more efficient than using the hieroglyphic palette.

In this part, I will show you how to find hieroglyphs you aren’t familiar with using the search utility in the hieroglyphic palette, and also how to arrange individual hieroglyphs in order to achieve the results you want.

Edit: Due to the length of this article, we will cover arrangement in the next part.

Pick what you want to reproduce.

So, before you begin you should probably have an idea of what you want to create. In this tutorial I’ll be using the inscription that was featured in Translate it! #1.


This example is the cartouche of Amenemhat. It’s fairly short, but may be difficult to reproduce if you’re new to JSesh.

Search for unknown hieroglyphs.

Most of these signs should be fairly familiar to you, since they are a part of the Alphabet (uniliterals). If you are having trouble identifying them now, you might want to check out Lesson 1, where uniliterals are discussed in more detail.

Two of the signs may be unfamiliar, Hieroglyph biliteral for mn and Forepart of Lion - HAt. If you can’t figure out what these hieroglyphs are, don’t worry. There are a few different methods for finding them, either through JSesh’s hieroglyphic palette or a separate sign list.

Let’s use the palette in order to find the Forepart of Lion - HAt glyph.

The first step is to choose the family of the hieroglyph. This part can be difficult, since it is not easy to determine what exactly a certain glyph represents. This hieroglyph, however is fairly straightforward since it is an animal.

Choose the Hieroglyphic family

For this hieroglyph, we want to look for a family which includes animals. We can narrow our selection even more since this glyph is only part of a lion, and not the entire lion. The best family would be F. Parts of Mammals.

After selecting the family, the white window below the filter options will show all of the glyphs you can find in that group, including any variation. The list can be quite large, so it will be best if you select a sub-family. In this case, it will be the “lion, panthera” sub-family.

Select a sub-family

After choosing both the family and sub-family, the hieroglyphs we were looking for showed up in the first position. Another helpful bit of information is that the palette shows us the hieroglyph’s phonetic value in the Manuel de Codage, HAt, or transliterated as 3t.

The missing piece of this puzzle is the last sign, Hieroglyph biliteral for mn. This sign is a bit more difficult since you may not recognize what it actually depicts. This complicates our search, but we still have other options. A few different groups are organized by the shape of the glyph: Tall Narrow Signs, Low Narrow Signs, and Low Broad Signs.

This glyphs appears flat and long, so it will most likely be found in the Low Broad Sign family. Unfortunately, JSesh does not include it in this group. However, it can be found on Egyptian Hieroglyphs’ sign list in the Low Broad Sign family. It is labeled with the Gardiner number Y5. So, in order to find its phonetic value, we should look in Y. Writings, Games, Music for the 5th hieroglyph.

Y5 - Writings, Games, Music

So, we were able to find the glyph using both a sign list and JSesh. It’s very important to have a number of sources of information to draw from, since every source has both strengths and weaknesses.

Now we have the phonetic values of every glyph, since the rest are easily found in the Alphabet chart in Lesson 1. The resulting transliteration is imn m HAt, s (imn-m-3t or Amenemhat). In order to create each separate sign in JSesh we would insert the Manuel de Codage value of i-mn-n-m-HAt-t into the text box in JSesh.

This of course would not arrange our glyphs in an order that matches the image above. However, I don’t want this entry to get too long, so I will save the arrangement of each individual sign and placement of them inside a cartouche until next time.

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