Monday, August 26, 2019

Amazing Chinese Characters (238) Eyes - 眼

We learnt the character Eye - 目 in Post 17. Now we are going to learn character for Eyes.

There is no difference between Eye and Eyes in English but the difference is exist between Chinese characters.

The big seal script for Eyes is

Let's compare it with character Eye - 目, same as in big seal script

We can see that there are two Eyes + a person (right bottom part), which means a person with two eyes. The 目 just means Eye, general eye.

The small seal script for the Eyes is

We see two 目s, and a body in the right bottom. Two big eyes and one small body emphasize the Eyes.

The clerical script for the character is

which is changed a lot: the right top 目 become 日 (Sun),  maybe simplified or lazy to miss one line; the bottom person changed to X alike, the pictography is damaged.

The Pinyin for 眼 is Yan3.

目 and 眼 both are popular in Chinese. 目 is more used in 文言文 (old version of Chinese) or proverbs; 眼 is more used in modern Chinese or oral Chinese.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Amazing Chinese Characters (237) View - 景 and Shadow - 影

The big seal script for characters View and Shadow is the same as


The original meaning is Shadow.



The top is Sun (Post 4)
The bottom is Capital (Post 236)

A big building.

A shadow has to do with a big building and the sun, at the same time, which is also a view.

The small seal script for the character is

very similar to the big script.

The clerical script for the character is

More and more people used it as View than Shadow, in order to avoid confusion, people created a new character for Shadow

Three left-down strokes on the right of the character to become a new character for Shadow.



The three left-down strokes means the shadow, we could understand better by my art work below


Therefore, the original character means View, the meaning of shadow disappeared.

The song typeface for View

and the Shadow is

The Pinyin for 景 is Jing3.
The Pinyin for 影 is Ying3.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Amazing Chinese Characters (236) Capital - 京

The shell bone script for character Capital is

A high building with a support pillar, only could be seen in Capital in the ancient time.

It is very similar to High - 高(Post 124)
 a 口 in the bottom, which could be a city gate, the highest building of the city in ancient time


Both characters are similar, present big buildings.

The big seal script for Capital is


Its small seal script is

changed, but we still can see the similarity to the old scripts.

Its clerical script is

changed big, difficult to see the pillar and the lookout tower.

We say 北京 - Bei Jing: The capital in north.


南京 - Nan Jing: The capital in south (It was capital in China).


Its Pinyin is Jing1.


Friday, August 9, 2019

Amazing Chinese Characters (235) Literary - 文

The shell bone scripts for character Literary is


There are engraved lines. In the ancient time, people used knife to engrave the characters on shell and bone to express certain meanings. So the original meaning of the character is Engrave or Engraving. Because as more and more literature were engraved on stone, and bamboo slips, the meaning gradually changed to Literary.

The bronze scripts for the character are


very similar to the shell bone scripts

The small seal script for the character is


Since small seal script, one character has only one form. Mr. Li Si chose the simplest one.

The clerical script is


We call shell bone script as 甲骨文 = Shell Bone 文, because they were engraved on shell or bone.


We call Tattoo as 文身 (engraving characters on body)- not 书身. 




As time past, people learnt writing literary with brush, which is 書 (书)




which is discussed in Post 54.

The song typeface for the character is 

In ancient time, engrave characters = 文, write characters = 书。 

Ancient Chinese engraved big or small seal script on stone, wood, bamboo, and shell bone in the earlier time, but wrote them on bamboo slips, animal skin, silk cloth in the later time, so they are called as 文, or 篆. So we say big seal or small seal script as 篆文 (engraved characters),or 篆书 (written characters), but all other scripts as 書(书), i.e. 隶书(clerical script), 楷书 (standard script), 行书(running script), and 草书(cursive script), because we use brush to write them on paper.

Now, 文 means articles, text, literary; 书 means books, writing.  They are similar but not the same.

The Pinyin for 文 is Wen2.