Zhe Zhe

Could this be a Ж?

Two hundred years ago a young, literate Russian immigrant to Mexico claimed his cattle brand. Usually these were just Latin letters, with some flourish or packed together, or else a couple of lines and curves combined into a small fanciful figure. We have the above rude images, redrawn an unknown number of times, from a younger record at the state capital.

This brand doesn't stand out much unless you think it looks like being a Ж and an inside joke by the only Russian speaker in the community. I know the Ж is not usually written quite this way, but it's hard for me to exclude the possibility that it be one.

Could Ж in some way relate to livestock, or to his immigrant status? Other suggested interpretations are more than welcome.

  • 1
    It's ж, no doubt. But in order to interpret the usage, you should know more about the person. It might be the first letter of his name or surname, his native city. That's the first thing which comes to mind.
    – V.V.
    Jun 2, 2017 at 6:33
  • 2
    This question is not about Russian, it's about whether or not some (unnamed) immigrant was using Ж or it's just a coindicendence.
    – shabunc
    Jun 2, 2017 at 6:59
  • 2
    His family name, his native town back in Russia, his loved girl name - whatever could be. Or nothing at all. He was searching for the "free" brand figure, one that was not taken by his neighbors already. The shape that both is easy to recognize and minimize and not taken yet. So, scanning from Cyrillic alphabet was probably an easy avenue. That said, "animals" in Russian is "Животные" and the very industry of growing cattle in USSR was called "Животноводство" (but I don't think the term existed before Russian Revolution )
    – Arioch
    Jun 2, 2017 at 9:45
  • 2
    According to the record, that brand belonged to Jose Antonio Bolcoff --originally Осип Волков. Until 1400s the Spanish pronounced "J" as /ʒ/, so it's conceivable that the brand might have hinted at Жозе.
    – mustaccio
    Jun 2, 2017 at 13:32
  • 1
    Osip is a south-east Russian/Ukrainian vulgar spelling of Biblical name Josef/Iosiph. While in Spanish "J" is somehow spelled as "H" but for most European languages (French, English) it still sounds like "Ж" :-D
    – Arioch
    Jun 2, 2017 at 14:09