Saturday, March 18, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (134) Brush - 笔

Chinese had used brushes to write for thousands years. The oldest shell bone script for Brush is

The top right is a hand holding a brush on the left.

Let us compare it with 書 - Write (Post 54),

The top is Brush with hand, same as we see above. The bottom is Mouth, we may think: the writing is like speaking with brush.

Its bronze script is


similar to shell bone script.

Its big seal script is


The fingers of hand are langer, more like a hand.


Its small seal script is


the bottom one


means Brush (with a hand holding the brush).

The top one



is a radical, which means bamboo related. Becaues all brush body was made from bamboo.

Its clerical script is


same as the small seal script, the top one is a radical meaning something related to bamboo. The bottom one means brush.

Gradually, the bottom one has been replaced by the characters with the radical. The bottom one has not used as Brush any more. It became a modal particle without meaning, and not used nowadays. But it keeps its Brush meaning if it is in a character as a radical.

Its current standard printing script for tranditional character is


same as the clerical script.

Its printing script for simplified character is

on the top is the bamboo related radical, on the bottom is character "Hair". Top is bamboo, and bottom is hair, which is Brush. The hand is disappeared, but it is very understandable.

Its pinyin is "Bi1".


No comments:

Post a Comment