November 17, 2012


What may be the etymology of la cha translated by Jäschke as “sealing-wax”? Someone somewhere may have already discussed this. But this is the first time it occurs to me and so I venture to mention here. If we take a closer look at those words connected with la cha, it is not only related with lākṣā (rendered into Tibetan as rgya skyegs) but English lac going back to Latin lac, lac(c)a, from Portuguese laca, based on Hindi lākh (but actually Sanskrit lākṣā) or Persian lāk.

1 comment:

  1. Just like the English word lac (also found in the words lacquer and shellac), it comes from the Sanskrit word.
    No doubt about it.
    Or do you think the English speakers borrowed it from Tibetan? I have some examples of the la-ca spelling (even if la-cha seems more common).
    There are usages where it obviously means the 'glaze' on a clay pot before and after it is fired.
    There's a nice Hobson-Jobson entry about it. It comes from the resin exuded by various trees when they get bitten by the lac insect (Coccus Lacca). And the same stuff makes a red dye, too.