Saturday, September 17, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (78) Root, Tree Tip,Red - 本,末,朱

The bronze script of character Root is

which is character Wood

plus three dots on the lower level, not very round because the casting technology was not good 3000+ years ago. The three dots means Root on or in soil

Now let's see the following big seal script

A big seal script of Wood 

plus a dot in the middle bottom, which means Root. there is only one dot left, which is enough to express the Root. The dot is an indicative or pointer to show the part the character represents or deals with.

The bronze script for character Tip is

The dot or tiny horizontal line on the top of character Wood. The dot is indictor to express what the character means: the tip of the tree.

The big seal script of character Tip is

Which is Tree Tip, the tip of the tree.

The shell bone script of character Red is


Which means Trunk of the tree because the dot is in the middle of the Wood (Tree).

The small seal scripts for the three characters above are


The dot become a short horizontal line because there is no dot in small seal script, all dots become short lines.

The clerical scripts for above three characters  are


The current standard scripts are



朱 meant Trunk originally, as time past, it meant Red too. There is dispute on why 朱 means red: some people think that some trees have red sap, people cut the middle of the trunk, the sap follows out to a container, which can be used as dye. Others believe that the inside of some tree's trunks are red.

To avoid the confusion, people added a wood radical 木 (wood) to form 株 for Trunk or an unit of tree. 朱 means Red. In addition, 朱 is a popular surname.

The Pinyin for Root - 本 is "Ben2",
The Pinyin for Tree Tip - 末 is "Mo4".
The Pinyin for Red - 朱 is "Zhu1"

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