Suzhou numbers

 Yigal Ben Efraim
Suzhou numbers

The Suzhou numerals, also known as Suzhou mazi or huama, is a numeral system used in China before the introduction of Arabic numerals.

In the Suzhou numeral system, special symbols are used for digits instead of the Chinese characters. The digits of the Suzhou numerals are defined between U+3021 and U+3029 in Unicode. An additional three code points starting from U+3038 were added later.

The numbers one, two, and three are all represented by vertical bars. This can cause confusion when they appear next to each other. Standard Chinese ideographs are often used in this situation to avoid ambiguity. For example, "21" is written as "〢一" instead of "〢〡" which can be confused with "3" (〣). The first character of such sequences is usually represented by the Suzhou numeral, while the second character is represented by the Chinese ideograph.