Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Amazing Chinese Characters (218) Fortune - 福

The shell bone script for character Fortune is


On the left bottom is a sacrifice table, on the right is a wizard who sprinkles wine on the table for the sacrifice ceremony. People did the sacrifice for good fortune.

The big seal script for character Fortune,
On the left is the sacrifice table, on the right is a jar of wine. Sacrifice table + wine = Fortune, the wizard disappeared, or unnecessary to show.

The small seal script for the character is

similar to the big seal script on the left, the right part changed a little bit.

The clerical script for the character is

The left is sacrifice table, which changed a little bit from the older scripts. The right part is similar to that in small seal script.

The song type face for the character is
Its Pinyin is Fu2.

I have to point out that 福 is the most popular character in China, even used more than 龍 (Dragon). Most if not all Chinese families have had at least once to stick 福 on the door or window or both in Spring festival, or wedding, more times upside down, because "福 upside down" pronounces same as "Fortune is coming" in Chinese.




Sunday, December 16, 2018

Amazing Chinese characters (217) Magnificence - 华

The big seal script for character of Magnificence is

which is same as character of 花 - Flower (See Post 69). They were the same originally


The small seal script for Magnificence is
which is similar to 花 (Flower) in small seal script.

The clerical script for Magnificence is


which is different from the character Flower of clerical script as the one blow.

The top is grass radical to indicate the character is related to grass type plant. The bottom is 化,which means Change. I guess that is from running or cursive script, which simplifies the character for fast writing.

Simplified song typeface is

In most cases, the Pinyin for 华 is Hua2. In comparison, Pinyin for 花(Flower) is Hua1, very close. Both characters are used as family names. 花 has the same pronunciation as Hua1, however 华 is pronounced Hua4 as a family name.

Chinese say China as 中华, 中 means middle, here is 中国 because ancient Chinese believed that China was in the center of the world, so China is a country in the center of the world: 中国(国 is country).

Chinese say themselves as 华人(Magnificent People). 华人 =  Chinese (in race, not nationality).

Another interesting thing about 华/華 is that Chinese call huge colorful decorated lantern as 华灯 (灯 is lantern) because it looks like flower.  (The small ones in family is not 华灯)


- 华灯 in Tiananmen Square


Amazing Chinese characters (216) String - 串

The bronze script for character String is

which is a string of beads


or a string of meat balls


The big seal script for this character is
very similar to the bronze script.

It is like sugar-coated haws, a famous food in north China.


The stuff may not always ball-alike, could be other shape. The following is a string of old copper coins, which was used as money in China 70+ years ago.


The small seal script for the character is
very similar too.

The clerical script for the character is
Similar to old script except the round circles become squares.

The song typeface of character String is

Same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Chuan4.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Amazing Chinese Characters (215) Left - 左

The shell bone script for character Left is



which is like a left hand.

In comparison with character Right in shell bone script,



which is a mirror image of Left.

The bronze script for Left is


The top is left hand, the bottom is character Say (see post 158), which means that raise left hand to the chest and pray. Probably ancient Chinese raised left hand while paying.

The big seal script for Left


the bottom is character Tool, I don't know the reason for this change. The Pictography Dictionary explains: Invocation. Which doesn't explain why there is a 工 at the bottom.

The small seal script for Left is


Similar to the big seal script.

The clerical script for Left is

the top changed a lot, we could imagine that the half curve in small or big seal scripts becomes to be a straight light, the long bent to right line becomes to be bent to left.

Right now the top of Left is same as the top of Right in clerical script.


The bottoms are different, Left has 工, Right has 口.

The song typeface for Left is

Which is almost same as its clerical script.

The Pinyin for Left is Zuo3.





Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Amazing Chinese characters (214) Right - 右

The shell bone script for character Right is

which is a right hand. 

We learn character Hand in big seal script


The difference is that the hand in character Right is a moving hand, but the hand in character Hand is a static hand, no moving. Character with the former hand means catching, hitting, moving, holding, etc. Character with the latter means something related to hand.

The big seal script for character Right is


There is a Mouth under the hand.  Ancient Chinese put the right hand in front of mouth to pray. But it evolved to pure Right later on.

The small seal script for Right is

which is similar to the corresponding big seal script.

The clerical script for Right is


The top changed a lot. The half circle in old scripts become less curved, and the middle horizontal turning to downward line becomes pure horizontal line, which is easy to write, but less pictography.

The song type face is


The Pinyin for character Right is

You4.



Thursday, October 4, 2018

Amazing Chinese Characters (213) Sparrow - 雀

The shell bone script for Sparrow is

The top three dots is character Small. The bottom is a bird.

Its big seal script is

The top is character Small, and the bottom one is bird. We can see its similarity to shell bone script.

We learnt character Bird, which big seal script is

which means all birds, the character Sparrow normally means small birds.


The small seal script of character Sparrow is


which is similar to its big seal script.

The clerical script of character Sparrow is
which is still similar to older scripts.

Its pinyin is Que4

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Amazing Chinese Characters (212) Winter - 冬

The shell bone script for Character Winter is


which is a two knotted rope. Chinese used to knot rope to record things happened. Two knotted rope means end of something, including end of a year. Chinese believed that the year starts in spring, and end in winter.


Its bronze script is

which is similar to the shell bone script.

Its small seal script is


which changed dramatically. The top is a rope crossing a line as knots, the bottom is Ice, which is only exist in winter when people go to river to cut the ice and transport them back in the underground storage to keep the food for long time.


Its clerical script is
which changed again from small seal script, especially the top, the bottom became two big dots.

Its Pinyin is Dong1.


Friday, September 7, 2018

Amazing Chinese Characters (211) Autumn - 秋

The shell bone script for character Autumn is


which is a picture of cricket which are seen everywhere in autumn.

There is another shell bone script for Autumn


which is a cricket in a hole, which means that the weather is getting cold, cricket is back to hole for winter.

The big seal script for the character is 

on the left is Rice plant, on the right is Fire, totally different from the shell bone script.

Why it changed so big? The Pictography Dictionary explains that people miswrote the Rice as cricket   + Fire. I disagree. I think that people just created the character from different description of the autumn: the Rice plant means that it is the harvesting season, the Fire means that it is a red season (red looks like fire). The fruits are red, the leaves are red, the clouds are red, and more are red in autumn.

The small seal script for the character is

similar to big seal script except the Fire on left and the Rice on right, exchanged position.

The clerical script for the character is 
similar to big seal script 

The song typeface for the character is 


Its pinyin is Qiu1.