Friday, August 19, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (71) Ghost - 鬼

The shell bone script for character Ghost is


a kneeling down person with a big head, which is what ancient Chinese thought a ghost looks like. According to Dictionary of pictography, it is a Wizard who wears a big skull mask in sacrifice, which is like a ghost in people imagination.

Its small seal script is


similar to the shell bone script, but not kneel down with a 厶 on the low right. The 厶 means soft, floating in the air, moving unpredictably, which are ghost's characteristics, ancient Chinese believed.


Its clerical script is


similar to small seal script, but strokes are more stretch out. It is less pictography.

Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


Its Pinyin is "Gui3"

  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (70) Stand - 立

The shell bone script of character Stand is


like a person standing up.

The bronze script of character Stand is


Similar to shell bone script

The big seal script of character Stand is


Still similar to old scripts.

The small seal script of character Stand is


similar to the shell bone script.

Its clerical script is


still similar, but just shorter and fatter.

The current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


almost same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Li4".

Friday, August 12, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (69) Flower - 花

The shell bone script for character Flower is


A tree with flowers.



The big seal script for character Flower is

like chrysanthemum.



Its small seal script is


similar to big seal script.
Its clerical script is


not similar to the older scripts, not like the flower anymore.

The current standard printing script is


Its Pinyin is "Hua1".

Amazing Chinese Characters (68) Dance - 舞

The shell bone script for character Dance is

like a person dancing.


Its small seal script is


like a dancer with many decorations on his or her body.

Its clerical script is


still like dancer with strips on his/her up body.

Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Wu3".

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (67) Seedlings - 苗

The big seal script for character Seedlings is


the bottom is character "Field", and the top are sprout growing from the field. It is an ideogram and pictography character.



Its small seal script is


very similar to the big seal script.

Its clerical script is

similar to two older scripts, the bottom "Field" is rectangle, and the top seedlings become two vertical lines plus a big long horizontal line, which compromised the pictography of the character.

Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Miao2".

Amazing Chinese Characters (66) Learn - 學

The shell bone script of character Learn or Study is

The top are two hands, the XX are counting rods or sticks. The two hands hold the sticks, which means that a person is learning how to count.

The original bronze script (3000+ years ago) for character Learn is


The top part is from the shell bone script,  the middle part is two legs of an adult, the bottom part is a child. The character is a picture in which an adult is teaching a child or a child is learning from an adult how to count.

It is a pictographic and ideogram character.

Its small script is


very similar to the bronze script.

Its clerical script is


the top part is simliar to the older scripts but the bottom part changed from a round circle to a horizontal line, the upward bent curve for two arms to a horizontal line,  and the vertical line to a curve with a hook at the end.

The changed damaged the pictography at the bottom but it is still a good ideogram character.

The song typeface of traditional character is


same as the clerical script.

The song typeface of simplified character is


which changed the top part to three dots. Now the character has no any pictography feature. You can't get any meaningful information from the character. You may write a few strokes, but lost all meaningful pictography, and ideography feature.

Its Pinyin is "Xue2".

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (65) Ask - 問

The shell bone script for character Ask is


which is formed by two pictography characters, one is "Door"


another is "Mouth"


this one is a little bit too big fot the door above (sorry, couldn't find a smaller one). But anyway, "a mouth in a door" is "Ask". Why? Ancient Chinese thought that a person approached to a door, and opened his mouth, he was asking something.

It is an ideogram character.

Its small seal script is


very similar to the shell bone script.

Its clerical script is


similar to older scripts.

Its current standard printing script for traditional character is


same as the clerical script.

Its current standard printing script for simplified character is


in which the "door" has changed, the pictography is compromised. 

Its Pinyin is "Wen4".

Amazing Chinese Characters (64) Dictionary - 典

The shell bone script for character "Dictionary" is


the top part is Book (Post 62), the bottom part is two hands holding the book, which means that the book is big, heavy and authoritative.

It is an ideogram character.

Its small script is


the top part is same as shell bone script, but the bottom part becomes a table or sheft, which means the book is on the table or sheft.

Its clerical script is


similar to small seal script.



Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Dian2".


Amazing Chinese Characters (63) Delete - 删

The big seal script for character "Delete" is


the left part is big seal script for character "Book"

the four vertical lines represent the bamboo slips, which were the writing materials in ancient time. People wrote on bamboo slips, then connected them by ropes. The circle line represents the rope. Because a bamboo slip is very small, only a few or a dozen character could be written on.  Hundreds or thousands or even tens thousands bamboo slips were needed to write a book.


the right part is big seal script for character "Knife"


because 2000 years ago, people wrote on bamboo or wooden slips, so book was formed by many slips connected by rope, which is the left part. There was no eraser at that time, if people wrote wrong, they used knife to scrape the surface for rewriting. So "a book + a knife" means "delete".

The person who is responsible for writing documents has brushes and a specific small knife for deleting the wrong characters on bamboo slip. People called him " 刀笔吏", officer of knife and brush.


The character is formed by two other pictography characters to express a different meaning, which is an ideogram character.

Its small seal script is


very similar to the big seal script.

Its clerical script is


changed a lot on both parts, especially the right part "Knife", which is a short vertical line plus a vertical line with a hook at the bottom, not like knife very much.

The current standard printing script for traditional character is


The current standard printing script for simplified character is

The difference is very small, actually they have the same number of strokes, which means there is no any simplifying.

I need to point out that 删 could mean "Erase" too.

Its Pinyin is "Shan1".

Monday, August 8, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (62) Book or Volume - 册

The shell bone script for character Book or Volume is


the four vertical lines represent the bamboo slips, which were the writing materials in ancient time. People wrote on bamboo slips, then connected them by ropes. The circle line represents the rope. Because a bamboo slip is very small, only a few or a dozen character could be written on.  Hundreds or thousands or even tens thousands bamboo slips were needed to write a book.




As we knew, the shell bone script was written on shell or bone when people had not found the bamboo slips for writing, how could we have a shell bone script with a tied bamboo slips for Book?What I think is that the bamboo slips was used in the late of the shell bone script time, or after bamboo slips had been used widely, people still wrote on shell or bone sometime.

Its big script is
 
very similar to shell bone script.

Its small script is


similar to old scripts.

Its clerical script is


still similar to the older two scripts, but only one rope left, and the top slips are connected.

Its current standard printing script for traditional character is


Its current standard printing script for simplified character is


both are very similar. Xin Hua Dictionary list the former as a variant of the latter, not an official traditional character.

Its Pinyin is "Ce4".
I need to point out that right now, the character 書 or which original meaning is "Write" is used more popular for "Book", so character 册 is used more often as Volume - a copy of the Book. 

Amazing Chinese Characters (61) Knife - 刀

The shell bone script for character Knife is


The Xin Hua Online Dictionary explains that the bottom is the handle, the top is the blade. I would say that the top may be the handle, the right bottom is the blade, and left bottom is used by ancient Chinese which we don't understand.

Its small seal script is


which is not like knife anymore, dictionary says that the change had been made too much. But if we consider the top is the handle, it is still like a knife, even though not a good pictography.

Its clerical script is


some similarity to small seal script, but not like knife very much.

Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Dao1".