Monday, January 11, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (327) Swallow - 吞

 The big seal script of character Swallow is

The top is character Sky (天), the bottom is character Mouth (口). Open mouth to try to swallow sky is the original meaning of the character. The character means not only swallow as English word but only means that swallow something a little bit too big to handle - you can do but not easy and comfortable. It is like the snake swallows the victim animal, at least we see the process is very difficult and uncomfortable.

The small seal script of the character is


Similar, the top is Sky, and the bottom is Mouth.

The clerical script of the character is


The top is Sky, the bottom is Mouth, the appearance is changed but the basic concept is not.

Its Pinyin is Tun1.


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (326) Old Days - 昔

 The shell bone script of character Old Days is


There are 4 different forms of the characters, which is common for shell bone script when the characters were not unified. We see all of the forms having waves and sun, 3 have waves on the top, 1 has waves on the bottom. No matter what, it means the Great Flood time: only the waves and the sun left. It is long long time ago - Old Days.

The bronze script of the character is


The top are waves, and the bottom is Sun.

The big seal script of the character is

Similar to bronze script.

The small seal script of the character is

The top waves change a lot away from the real wave, the bottom is Sun, unchanged.

The clerical script of the character is


The top is not like wave anymore, people didn't know the original meaning of the character, made mistake in the writing of clerical script.

The song typeface of the character is
Almost ame as the clerical script. 
Its Pinyin is Xi1


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (325) Straight to - 正

 The shell bone script of character of Straight to is


The top is a head of nail, and the bottom is a foot (left). People walk to a nail in a distance straightly, probably to measure the distance estimably. 

The bronze script of the character is


The top black spot is the head of nail, the bottom is the foot.

The small seal script of the character is


The nail head becomes a horizontal line, the rest is 止 (foot).

The clerical script of the character is

The top line is the nail head, the bottom is 止(foot).

The character has other meanings: Correct, Positive, etc. but original meaning is Straight to.

Its Pinyin is Zheng4.


 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (324) Do Not - 莫

 The shell bone script of character Do Not is


which is exactly same as character Evening or Old Age (Post 323). At the beginning of the shell bone script, the character express Evening or Old Age and Do Not, because after the sunset (evening), people are difficult to see (Do not see), or difficult to do anything (Do not do).

Because most people didn't know characters, the communication was in the very low level, the multiple meanings of the character didn't cause problem.

The big seal script of the character is

Same as the big seal script of character Evening or Old Age.

The small seal script of the character is

Same as the small seal script of character Evening or Old Age.

As time passed, people commented more, and used the character more often, which meaning the character presents caused confusion. So back about 2000+ years, people changed the character a little bit to distinguish the different meanings.

The clerical script of the character is

The bottom becomes to be 大, which means Big. However, if it means Big in the character? We don't know. But it is now different from the character from clerical script of character Evening or Old Age, which is
The top is character Do Not, the bottom is character Sun (日), which emphasizes that the Sun is covered or hided. So we may think the character Do Not as To cover/hide something, or Not, No, etc.

The song typeface of the character is


very similar to its clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Mo4.






Sunday, January 3, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (323) Evening or Old age - 暮

 The shell bone script of character Evening or Old age is


in the middle there is Sun, which is surrounded by 4 grass. When the sun is set to same level of the grass is  Evening. 

We learnt another character Evening 夕 (Post 53). The difference between the two is that 夕 has only meaning of evening, but the character in this post means evening and old age.

The big seal script of the character is


similar to its shell bell script.

The small seal script of the character is

similar to old scripts.

The clerical script of the character is 


the top 莫 is the character, but it evolved another meaning - Don't, so people added another Sun - 日 to mean Evening because it emphasizes the sun is below the grass. 

The song typeface of the character is 


Its pinyin is Mu4.



Monday, December 28, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (322) Show - 显

 The bronze script of character Show is


The top left is character Sun, the bottom left is character Silk, the right is character Meet - a big eye with a small body. The original meaning of the character is to put the silk under the sun to check carefully.

The big seal script of the character is


The top is Sun, the bottom is Silk, the person with big eye disappears, which is understandable because we Show the silk under the sun not the person with big eye who is the subject.

The small seal script of the character is 


The left is Sun + Silk, the right is character Page which is a human face originally with eyes (see post 257). It is a person who check the silk under the sun.

The clerical script of the character is

The left is Sun + Silk, and the right is character Page (頁).

I can't find big song typeface for the traditional character image, so use the standard script instead. They are almost same.

The simplified song typeface for simplified character is


which is changed a lot. The biggest change is to eliminate the right part, just keep the left part: the top is Sun, the Bottom is the silk but using simplified character 业,which may look like silk (?), but the meaning is Industry. This is a bad simplified character.

Its Pinyin is Xian3. 






Saturday, December 26, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (321) Ash - 灰

 The shell bone script of character Ash is


The bottom 

is Fire.

The top right is a hand which is holding a fire stick. The image shows that after fire, a person uses a fire stick to move something in the bottom of the fireplace: ash.

The big seal script of the character is 


the bottom is character Fire, the top-right is Hand, the fire stick is gone, which is not as good as the shell bone script because it is easy to think that people put his hand over the fire.

The small seal script of the character is


Similar to big seal script.

The clerical script of the character is

The bottom is Fire, the top "One horizontal stroke + left falling stroke" means Hand here because the two bent lines of Hand in big or small script are straight now.

Its Pinyin is Hui1.





Monday, December 14, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (320) Print or Stamp - 印

 The shell bone script of character Print or Stamp is


The left top is a hand holding a man who is kneeling down prisoner. In the ancient time, the official forced the prisoner to be marked on the face by hot iron before he would be dispatched to remote area as a punishment.

The bronze script of the character is

The hand is over the man right now.

The small seal script of the character is

The hand is over the person who is twisted too much to be like a person kneeling down.

The clerical script of the character is

The hand is on the left, and the person is on the right but difficult to see any similarity to older scripts, and not like a person anymore.

The song typeface of the character is


Its Pinyin is Yin4.

The character means Print or Stamp, both verb or noun.





Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (319) Seek - 觅

 The bronze script of character Seek is 


the upper left is a hand, the right is a person with a big eye. Dictionary of Pictography 《象形字典》explanation is that people use hand and eyes to seek something. I think that another possibility is exist: the hand opens the eye bigger to seek something.

The big seal script of the character is

The hand is over eye now, it is more like "open the eye with hand".

The small seal script of the character is


The bottom is character Meet, the top is not like a hand, and unclear what it is.

The clerical script of the character is


The top is Hand, the bottom is Meet.

The song typeface for traditional character is

very similar to clerical script.

The song typeface for simplified character is

The bottom 见 is simplified character Meet.

Its pinyin is Mi4.


Monday, December 7, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (318) Temple - 庙

 The bronze script of character Temple is


The head 广 is a broad flat space in front of cliff, we see this in character Broad(Post 316). There is a character Sun - the circle with a dot inside, over and below it are grass. The right is a river, we see the water drops. 

In a broad space near a river, when the sun is rising just over the grass (very early morning), the King offers sacrifices to gods or ancestors. The character means "The place for King to hold worship activity". As time passed, it becomes to "The place for worship activity". It is obvious open space. 

Back to 3000+ years ago, there was no religious. After religious appeared, the character is used to represent "The place for the religious activities". It is a building where people could have religious activity every day. 

The big seal script of the character is


very similar to bronze script.

The smaal seal script of the character is 


 The "grass" below the sun is changed, the reason is unknown. The right "river" is changed to "boat", which is reasonable because "boat" is used in "river". 

The clerical script of the character is 


The two + over and under the 日 (Sun) are grass, which is same as older scripts. The right part is 月 (Moon), which is nothing to do with "river" or "boat". Dictionary of Pictography thinks that people just miswrote because “Boat" and "Moon" are similar in writing. I agree. 

The song typeface for traditional character Temple is

Almost same as the clerical script.

The song typeface for simplified character Temple is

Why is it changed to that? I don't know and didn't find explanation.

Its Pinyin is Miao4.