Friday, August 5, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (53) Moon - 月 and Evening - 夕

The shell bone script for character Moon is


just like a moon. It is similar to what we learnt in the post 52: Evening - 夕, its shell bone script is


Actually both are moons.

Why there is a vertical short line in Moon, and empty in Evening? Let us see their small seal scripts first.

The bronze script of the character is



The small seal script of Moon is


Compare it with the small seal script of Evening


They are similar too, even not as good as their shell bone counterparts. There is two short curves in Moon, and only one in Evening, why?

Let's see the pictures of Moon


and the moon in the early evening when the sunset glow in the sky.


The moon is not very clear and bright in comparison with the moon in the midnight above.

Ancient Chinese used the moon at the sunset or just after the sunset to express Evening.

The difference between the moon in the midnight and in the evening is the brightness. Moon looks brighter than the moon at the sunset. So they used the short bar or curve to show the brightness. Moon in shell bone script has one vertical bar, is brighter than Evening moon which is empty inside. Moon in small seal script has two short curves inside, is brighter than Evening moon which has only one.

Nowadays, people use the similar way to show the signal strength, such as WI-FI signal.


Amazingly, ancient Chinese used this method more than 3000 years ago.

The clerical script of Moon is


which is changed a lot, but still has some similarity to its small seal script. The two short horizontal lines are the bright strength.

The clerical script of Evening is

It is so different from the Moon, but it is just turned a 45 degree, and the short line becomes a dot, which is the bright strength indicator.

Its song typeface of Moon is

The song typeface of Evening is

Pinyin is "Yue4" for 月, and "Xi1" for 夕.

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