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Another source is the Huáyí yìyǔ (華夷譯語 "Chinese–barbarian vocabulary") compiled by the Bureau of Translators in the mid-18th century on the order of the Qianlong Emperor, and now held in the archives of the Imperial Palace Museum.The survey of western Guangxi (太平府夷语通译 Tàipíng fǔ yíyǔ tōngyì) was less thorough than other parts of the empire, consisting of just 71 to 170 items from three different locations.The fact that Zhuang readings of borrowed Chinese characters often match Early Middle Chinese suggests a Sui–Tang date, however it has been noted these could also be explained as later borrowings from conservative Pinghua varieties.Chinese characters were already in use in the Zhuang area, as illustrated by two Tang dynasty steles entitled Liù hé jiāngù dà zhái sòng (六合坚固大宅颂 "Eulogy of the six-sides courtyard", 682) and Zhì chéng bēi (智城碑 "Monument of Zhi Cheng city", 697).
In Mandarin Chinese, these are called Gǔ Zhuàngzì (Chinese: lit.
"characters of the Han"); gun is Zhuang for the Han Chinese.
The name "old Zhuang script" is usually used to distinguish it of the official alphabet based script Standard Zhuang.
Like Chinese it can be written horizontally from left to right, or vertically from right to left.
The script has never been standardized; some morphosyllables have more than a dozen associated variant glyphs.
Whether these are viewed as Sawndip, or as some sort of precursor to Sanwdip, depends not only the evidence itself, but also differing views of what counts as Sawndip and from what era the term Zhuang can be applied.