Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (185) Hot - 炎

The bronze script of character Hot is



which is formed by two Fire (Post 26)



The double Fire means very hot.

The small seal script of character Hot is


which is formed from two small seal script Fires

The clerical script of Hot is

The current standard printing script of character Hot is


炎 also means Inflammation because when people who have inflammation may feel very hot and pain in the inflammation area, which is like to be burnt by fire.

Its Pinyin is Yan2.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (184) Black (2)- 乌(烏)

There are two characters of Black. We discussed 黑 in Post (183). We discuss another one here.

The big seal script of another character of Black is


which is a bird which has all black feather like crows.



The small seal script of the character Black is


Let's see the small seal script of character Bird

Both are almost the same except for a short line in the head of the character Bird, but not in the character Black.



Why? Because the body and eyes of Crows or other black birds are all black, it is difficult to see the eyes on the all black body. But other birds have black eyes and different feather color, easy to distinguish the eyes from the feather.

The clerical script of the character is

It changed big from the small script. The bottom 4 dots are bird paws, the tail bends inward.

In comparison with the character Bird

We see there is an extra line inside the top box which is the head of bird.

The song typeface for traditional character is


very similar to clerical script.

The song typeface for simplified character is


The 4 dots become a line, and the top feather are disappeared. It is difficult to see its similarity to bird anymore.

Its Pinyin is Wu1.

Because there are much fewer black birds than other color birds, so ancient Chinese use black bird to emphasize its color: Black.

The difference between "乌“ and "黑” is that "黑" is for general Black, "乌" is used for a few black animals, for example: 乌鸦 - Crows, here 鸦 is bird; or 乌马 - black horse; 乌鸡 - black chicken or something moving  such as 乌云 - dark clouds. 

乌 has some emotional,  黑 is more objective.




Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (183) Black - 黑

There are two characters for Black, we discuss one of them in this post, will discuss another one in next post.

The bronze script of character Black is

The big seal script of the Character is


Both top parts are a face with some black dots, indicating the face has black dots. There are some black dots around the bottom too.

The bottom ones are Hot (Double Fires, see Post 185)


The full character means those who are close to the big fire like Kiln worker face is black because too many charcoal dots or dust on the face.




The small seal script of the character is


the top is the face with three bars to replace the dots in the big seal script, the bottom is two Fires, similar to the big seal script.

The clerical script of the character is
the top part is more similar to big seal script, the bottom part is not similar to anyone. The only thing I can tell is that the 4 dots on the bottom is for Fire, because Fire has four strokes,

Big seal script, or


Small seal script.

When a character has big top part like Black, not much space for the Fire on the bottom, people had to compress the strokes to dots. Most of 4 dots on the bottom mean Fire.

The song typeface of the character is

very similar to the clerical script.

Its pinyin is Hei1.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (182) Middle or Center - 中

Shell bone script of the character Middle or Center are




There are five different characters, all mean Middle or Center. Why? Because there were no unified characters before the First Emperor after 221 B.C. So there were many characters for one characters. The above five characters are only part of the characters for Middle or Center.

From the far left to the middle one, all have flags, on the top and on the bottom. The second one from the left has one dot on the flagpole, and two on each side. They are indicative of the middle place between the flags.

The middle one uses a circle to indicate the Middle or Center. The far left is the space in the middle.

The far right has only the flagpole and a square, the second one from right is something between.

The bronze script of the character is


Similar to the far right of the shell bone script characters above.

Let see the big seal script of Middle or Center


which are from the middle one and the one on the right of shell bone characters above.

The small seal script for Middle or Center is


There is only one character because small seal script was created by Mr. Si Li under the order of First Emperor to unify the characters. Mr. Li just chose the one with flagpole and the half circle half square one, which is simple and easy to write or draw.

The clerical script of the character is


which is similar to the small seal script, the middle is rectangle now.

The song typeface of the character is


It is almost same as the clerical script.

Its pinyin is Zhong1.

I need to point out that Chinese call China as 中国. 中 means Middle or Center,  国 or 國 (traditional Chinese) means Country or Nation. So 中国 or 中國 means "Middle Country", or "the Country in the center of the world". Ancient Chinese believed that they were in the center of the world.

Western named China because it was the place where made China, which is not the same meaning as 中国 in Chinese.



Saturday, December 9, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (181) Lead - 牵

The shell bone script of Lead (verb) is


on the left is Ox


The middle one is a circle, which is a circle of something (e.g. rope) through the Ox nose, and the right part is a leash.


The big seal script of character Lead is


the bottom is Ox


the middle one horizontal is an open bar with two ends bent down (not a circle), the vertical is the rope and hand.

The small seal script of character Lead is


Similar to the big seal script, but the horizontal bar's two ends bent very deep, which is the style of small seal script.

The clerical script of character Lead is

It is some similar to the big and small seal scripts, but changed a lot.

The song typeface is


similar to the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Qian1. 

牵 could be only used in leading an animal or person or an object by leash or hand one on one, not for leading a group, or leading a person without touching.