Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (470) Omen - 兆

 The shell bone script of character Omen is

which is the cracks on shell or bones after being burnt.


Ancient Chinese wrote some scripts on the turtle shell, ox bone, put them on fire to burn. Based on the cracks, foresee or foretell the good or bad of an event in the near future. 

The big seal script of character Omen 
more like cracks.

The small seal script of the character is
Similar to big seal script.

The clerical script of the character is

The middle crack disappeared, the character is symmetrical.

The song typeface of the character is
Very similar to clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Zhao4.

兆 is also a number: Trillion, the biggest number unit in Chinese. Why is 兆 a huge number? I guess that it is from the super nature (cracks made by super nature power), so it must be a great number.










Sunday, January 16, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (469) Enon and Mortise - 卯

 The shell bone script of character Enon and Mortise is

Chinese used complicated Enon and Mortise in 3500+ years ago to build structures without nails.





In the script, the circles are holes, and the long strokes are wooden strips.

The bronze script of the character is

Similar to shell bone script.

The big seal script of the character is
Similar to older scripts. 

The small seal script of the character is 

Similar to the older scripts except the top bent lines.

The clerical script of the character is
Changed a lot, not symmetrical anymore. The left changed big, but we still can see some similarity.

The song typeface of the character is
Same as the clerical script.

The pinyin of the character is Mao3.

Note: The character also means "fourth earthly branch" in Chinese Terrestrial Branch, which is very complex. Just remember it is used as a sequence word sometimes.


Monday, January 10, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (468) Fear - 畏

 The shell bone script of character Fear is


The right top 田 is a ghost face mask. Let see the shell bone script character Ghost (Post 71). 

The top is a big 田, a skull mask. The bottom is a kneeling down person.

The bottom of character Fear is a standing person. The left is a scepter. A person wears a skull mask or ghost mask, holding a scepter to show a power of super nature, maybe ghost in sacrifice. The appearance is fearful. 

The bronze script of the character is
Similar to shell bone script.

The big seal script of the character is
Similar to big seal script.

The small seal script of the character is
The top is similar to older script. The bottom changes big: the left is scepter, the right is a person.

The clerical script of the character is
The top is similar to older scripts. The bottom has some similarity to small script, but changed big to fit the clerical script writing, especially the falling right stroke which is typical clerical stroke. 

The song typeface of the character is
Same as clerical script.

The Pinyin of the character is Wei4.







Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (467) Body - 体(體)

 The bronze script of character Body is

The left is a form of body, the right is character Harvest and Abundance (Post 317), which means, the body is formed or produced by foods.

There is another character Body (Post 97)

The dot is an indicator, which is the most important point the character wants to say. Here is the belly. The above character originally means the belly of the body. But right now it means body. The difference of the two is very subtle. One is more emphasizing the trunk: the belly and the chest, another is more on the whole body including the legs, arms, head. 

The big seal script of the character is 

The left is character Bone (Post 458), the right is character Harvest and Abundance (Post 317). A body with bones is supported by abundance foods.

The small seal script of the character is

Similar to the big seal script.

The clerical script of the character is

Similar to older scripts.

The traditional song typeface of the character is

Same as clerical script.

The simplified song typeface of the character is

Which is from nowhere. The left is radical Person, the right is character Root (Post 78).  It has nothing to do with the older scripts, or the traditional song typeface. I can only guess that the character means "A person's root" = "A person's body", which changes to ideogram character, not pictographic character.

The Pinyin of the character is Ti3.

Because character 身,and character 体, both means Body with very subtle difference, so people use 身体 (combination of the two characters) as a word-form to mean Body. There are many this kind words formed by two characters with very similar meaning, to avoid any confusion. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (466) Play with - 弄

 The shell bone script of character Play with is

The middle is 工 - Work (Post 465), the left and right are two hands. Here 工 is a simplified 王 - King (Post 244), but it means Jade (Post 244). Before clerical script, both King and Jade are three horizontal lines and one vertical line. The character above means that two hands playing with a jade which may be a very beautiful, valuable, and lovely. Play with a jade in one's hand, touching, watching, and feeling.


Chinese have loved jade since more than 3500+ years ago. Jade is not only artistic items, but very expensive treasure.  

The bronze script of the character is

The top is character Jade (玉 - Post 244), under it are two hands. 

The big seal script of the character is

Similar to bronze script.

The small seal script of the character is
Two hands bent more.

The clerical script of the character is
The bottom two hands become one long horizontal line, one vertical line, and one left falling line, which is a simplified form but making confusion. 

The song typeface of the character is
Same as the clerical script.

The pinyin of the character is Nong4.

弄 is a something people do in the spare time, or casual time as a hobby, not very serious, but enjoyable.


Sunday, December 26, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (465) Work - 工

 The shell bone script of character Work is


or simplified one



There is dispute what it is. Some people including Dictionary of Pictography believe that it is a multiple functions iron tool used by carpenters. More people believe that it is impossible that there were iron tools in 3500+ year ago, it should be carpenter's ink marker.


The front box is ink box with black ink inside, the back box has a wire coil, there is a hole between the two boxes, the wire goes through the hole and another hold in front of the box to get out. The wire has ink on, carpenter puts the wire on wood he works on, and makes a straight line he needs.

There is a bamboo or metal nail on the end of the wire, the carpenter hits the nail on point A on the wood, he pulls the wire coil box to point C, and lifts up the wire at point B, then looses it, the wire drops on the wood, makes and a black straight line with the ink on the wire. The carpenter can cut or saw the wood along the line. 

I agree with that the character means carpenter ink marker, which is important for carpenter work, which is important for most ancient projects.

The first character above has an ink box at the bottom and a nail on the top, which is like a carpenter ink marker. The second one is simplified, the box becomes a line.

The bronze script of the character is


The bottom is like an ax, which let many people believe that it is a metal tool. However it could be an ink box too. 

The big seal script of the character is
which is simplified ink marker on the bottom.

The small seal script of the character is

Similar to big seal script.

The clerical script of the character is
Similar to older scripts.

The song typeface of the character is
Same as small seal script.

The Pinyin of the character is Gong1.




Thursday, December 23, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (464) Repeat - 复(復)

 The shell bone script of character Repeat is

The top pot alike is a city, the bottom is a foot. A guard (most likely) walks in the city back and forth again and again to keep public safety.

The bronze script of the character is

The circle with a dot inside is a city, the top and mirror part on the bottom are two watchtowers, the lowest bottom is a foot or a person, which has dispute. But anyway, the meaning is the same: Guard patrols in the city.

The big seal script of the character is
The left is character Cloth (Post 140). the right one is similar to bronze script above, the bottom is character Foot. Why is there a cloth? I don't know. Probably it means the uniform of the guard. 

The small seal script of the character is

The left is character Cloth, and the right one is from the right part of older scripts but one circle in older script becomes two circles. The bottom is foot, and the top is simplified, not like a watchtower anymore. 

There is another small seal script (very rare because small seal script is one form for one character),

same as the right part of the character above.

The clerical script of the character is

The left is Radical Double Person, which means Road, or Street, not cloth. But it is fit the meaning of patrol on the street. The right part: middle is 日, which is Sun. Dictionary of Pictography explains that 日 is a mistakenly written city, the top is similar to the top of small seal script, the bottom is a foot.

The traditional song typeface of the character is
Same as clerical script.

The simplified song typeface of the character is

Which is the right part of the traditional script above.

The pinyin of the character is Fu4.





Saturday, December 11, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (463) Latitude - 经

 The bronze script of character Latitude is

left is a radical of silk which means anything related to silk or cloth, the right one 

is a shuttle of weaver with vertical cotton or silk thread.

There is a dot near right bottom, which is an indicative sign to emphasize the point: the handle of the shuttle. Here is the key part of the shuttle. The character means manage, experience, bear, etc.

The big seal script of the character is
similar to the bronze script.

The small seal script of small seal script is
similar to older scripts.

The clerical script of character is
the left is silk radical, the right is the shuttle of weaving.

The traditional song typeface of the character is
Same as the clerical script.

The simplified song typeface of the character is
lost most of pictography.

The pinyin of the character is Jing1.



Saturday, December 4, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (462) Han - 汉

Han is a very popular and very important character, which has many meanings: Han Dynasty, Han Nationality, Han Language (Standard Chinese), Han Cloth, etc. Han means China or Chinese related.

Han Dynasty (202 B.C. - 220 A.D.) is one of two most powerful dynasties in China history, another one is Tang Dynasty (628 - 907 A.D.). Chinese have been proud of Han Dynasty, call themselves to be Han People, Chinese (language) to be Han language. 

Let's see the evolution of the character of Han.

The shell bone script of Han character has not been found. The earliest script for Han character is big seal script.

The left is Water (Post 13), the right is Violet (Post 460). The character means that a river with lush viola in the banks, which is Han River in north west China where was the richest, and the most developed area in ancient China. 

The small seal script of the character is

Similar to big seal script.

The clerical script of the character is


Left is Three-drops radical, the right is character Violet. 

The song typeface for traditional character is

Same as clerical script.

The song typeface for simplified character is

The left is not changed, but the right one becomes character Again (Post 102), which has nothing to do with violet. The simplification is unreasonable, totally just for reducing the number of strokes. 

The pinyin of the character is Han4.