Saturday, May 27, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (154) Think - 思

The big seal script of character Think or Thinking is


The top is head, and the bottom is heart. Ancient Chinese believed that people used head and heart to think. Even though we now know that we use head to think. But western people say "I love you from my heart", heart could feel emotions which are related to thinking.




Its small seal script is



which is similar to the big seal script.

Its clerical script is


The top changed to 田,which means "Field". But it is not from "Field". The inside X became , which could be result from easy or lazy writing.

The song typeface is


which is similar to clerical script.

Its pinyin is Si1.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (153) Go Out - 出

The shell bone script for character Go Out is



the top is a person's foot (left), the bottom is a room or house or cave. The foot is stepping out

The big seal script for Go Out is

Top left is Foot, the right bottom is a space people live or stay.

Its small seal script for Go Out is



The foot on the top is changed a little bit, but still similar.

Its clerical script is


 which has changed big, the curve lines become straight line, the bottom part is just same as the top which may be thought as two feet.

Its current standard printing script is

which is very similar to the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Chu1.





Amazing Chinese Characters (152) Order - 令

The shell bone script of character Order is


On the top is a tongue who makes the order, the bottom is a person kneels down, waiting for an order.

Its bronze script is


Similar to the shell bone script.

Its big seal script is


The top is same as older scripts, but the bottom is changed, not like a person kneeling down. It is bottom of character 邑  (City), means Person. Maybe, at that time, the person who receives the order doesn't need to kneel down.

Its small seal script is


The top is same as the shell bone script, but the bottom changed a lot.

Its clerical script is

The bottom is simplified, it is no similarity to the old scripts. The knees became to a big dot.

The current standard printing script for it is


which is almost same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Ling4. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (151) Dream - 梦

The shell bone script of the character Dream is


the right is Bed, and the left is a person, a person is sleeping on a bed.

As I mentioned in other posts, the original characters were written in bamboo slips, which were very narrow, so people wrote or drew characters in vertical. This character is a vertical drawing of sleeping.

Let's turn it 90 degree

 Here we can see a person sleeping on a bed.


Dream occurs in sleeping.

Its big seal script is

which changed a lot. We can see the big eye, and eyebrow, similar to character Eyebrow below

under the eye, something like 八 is the body of the person. 

The bottom part
means Evening when dream happens in sleeping, which is extra part without in shell bone script, but there is no bed anymore.

Its small seal script is

which is similar to big seal script, but the top one is more like a bed than its big seal script.

Its clerical script is

The song typeface for traditional character is


which is similar to the clerical script.

The song typeface for simplified character is


The bottom is same to the traditional character, but the top one become 林,which means Forest, nothing to do with Dream. The reason why the Eyebrow is changed to Forest may be because people might have misunderstood the top is a grass head (草字头), not the eyebrow. 

Its Pinyin is Meng4.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (150) Bed - 床

The shell bone script of Character Bed is


which is a Bed vertically placed. If we put it horizontally, we could see

which is exactly a bed we see every day. It is a pictography character.

I mentioned before, the ancient Chinese wrote or drew the character on bamboo strips, which are very narrow, about 1 cm wide. It was difficult to write a long horizontal stroke, so ancient Chinese wrote many characters which have long horizontal strokes vertically.

Its big seal script is


the left part is the shell bone script, the right part is Wood. The character becomes an ideogram character, the right part means that the character is related to Wood (made from wood).

I don't think that it is a good change.

Its small seal script is


which is similar to the big seal script.

Its clerical script is
which changed a lot. The left pictographic part disappears, becomes 广, which means "Big, open area", nothing to do with Bed. the bottom part is 木,which is same as the right parts in old scripts.

I don't know where this change came from. Obviously, it is a bad change, gave up the good pictography in the old scripts completely.

Its song typeface is

which is almost same as its clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Chuang2.



Friday, May 12, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (149) Guard -衛

The bronze script of the character Guard is



The circle in the center represents a city, the periphery is from shell bone Street or Walk (Post 96)


The reserve D above the circle, and D below the circle are feet.

The soldier who walks on the street around the city is Guard. 

The big seal script for Character Guard is


Same as shell bone script, the circle in the center is a city or town. The middle top and bottom are feet.

The outside

means "Street", and "Walk".

So the character means that the person who walks on the street in the city, is Guard.

Its small seal script is


We can see a circle in the center, a foot on the top. The bottom is more than a foot, which I can't explain right now. The outside is still Walk.

Its clerical script is

 It is similar to small seal script, easier to understand.

The current standard printing script for traditional character is


It is almost the same as the clerical script.

The song typeface of simplified character is


People believe that is simplified cursive script, which represents a foot, part of the old scripts. Because it is changed too much or simplified too much to connect to old scripts, people who just know simplified  or traditional character has no way to connect to the counterpart. Simplification reduced most strokes but totally disconnect the similarity to old scripts, and killed the pictography of the character.

Its Pinyin is Wei4.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (148) City - 城

The bronze script of character City or Town is


The bottom one


is character Soil - 土, means wall here. The rest is weapon, means army here. 

Wall and army to protect represent City.

The big seal script for Character City or Town is

 The left part

is a circle in the middle, which means the inside of the city,  the top and bottom are watchtowers on the city gates.



The right part


is weapon.

The circle, watchtowers on north and south, and soldier with weapon around to protect, which is a City or Town.

Its small seal script is

Here, the left changed to



which means Soil (136), no circle for city, no watchtowers. The simplification lost the meaningful pictography. The right part is similar to the big seal script.

Its clerical script is
which is similar to small seal script.

The current standard printing script is


Its Pinyin is Cheng2.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (147) Blood -血

The shell bone script for character Blood is


which the middle inside is a drop of blood, the rest is Pot, the Cooking Pot we learnt in Post 144.


Ancient Chinese used A Drop hanging on the Pot to express "Blood". In ancient time, when people killed the animals for meat, they used a bit pot bellow to collect the blood. The character shows the picture, a blood is dropping into the pot.

It is an indicative character.

Let's see its small seal script


the drop becomes a short line because small seal script uses short line to express the dot, here is a drop.

The clerical script is

The top pot disappears, the blood drop becomes a short stroke down to the left.

The current standard printing script is

almost same as its clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Xue3.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (146) Come - 来, and Wheat - 麦

There is no relationship between Come and Wheat in English. But there is a close relationship between Chinese character 来 (Come) and 麦 (Wheat).

Let's take a look.

The shell bone script for Come is


which did mean Wheat originally. We can see that it looks like a plant of wheat.


It is a pictography character.

Its big seal script is


The shell bone script for Wheat is


Let's see its big seal script first, which is easier to be understood.

We see the top is 来,which was wheat. The bottom part means "Foot". The character means someone who hold wheat and walking here, which was used as Come.


It is an ideogram character.

However, the two characters exchanged the meaning in long history.

來,original meant Wheat, but it means Come

麥,original meant Come, but it means Wheat.

I don't know why this could have happened.

The small seal script for Come is

 and the small seal script for Wheat is


The clerical script for Come is


The clerical script for wheat is

The current standard printing script for traditional character of Come is


very similar to the clerical script.

The current standard printing script for simplified character of Come is


changed a little bit in the middle, but still similar to its clerical script.

The current standard printing script for traditional character of Wheat is


very similar to clerical script.

The current standard printing script for simplified character of Wheat is


not much similarity left on the top part.

The pinyin for  來 (Come) is Lai2.

The pinyin for 麥 (Wheat) is Mai4.