Saturday, September 17, 2016

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

The big seal script of Wood (tree) is


Now let's see the following big seal script

A dot in the middle bottom, which means Root. The dot is an indicative or pointer to show the part the character represents or deals with.

If the dot on the top of the Wood (big seal script)

Which is Tree Tip, the tip of the tree.

If the dot on the middle (shell bone script, couldn't find the big seal script)


Which means Trunk of the 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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