Sunday, January 26, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (262) Smooth - 顺(順)

The shell bone script for character Smooth is

The left is
which means River (See Post 25).


The right is

means Meet (See Post 201), here means See or Watch.

A person is watch the river flow, which means Smooth, not only the river flow is smooth, but the person's mood is relaxed, and pleasure.

The big seal script for Smooth is
The left is River, the right is Meet (See).

The small seal script for Smooth is

the left is River, the right is Page (See Post 257). The original meaning of Page is impression in mind (feeling) through watching.

The clerical script for Smooth is
The left is River, the right is Page.

The traditional song typeface for Smooth is
Same as the clerical script.

The simplified song typeface for Smooth is

The Pinyin for 顺 is Shun4. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (261) Each - 各

 The shell bone script of character Each is


The top is up down Foot (Post 93)


The bottom 口 that means a home. A foot toward to home - people walk to home, which means that group of people come back, and go each home. Each person has his own home, so it means Each.

The bronze script of the character is


very similar to shell bone script.

The big seal script of the character is


similar to the old scripts.

The small script of the character is


The top changes big, but still some similarity to the old scripts.

The clerical script of the character is


The top becomes symmetrical, not like a foot. But it still has some similarity to old script.

Its Pinyin is  Ge4. 



Friday, January 17, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (260) Worship - 拜

The bronze script for Worship is


The left one has a Hand (See Post 55) on the right, and Wheat (See Post 146) on the left, which offers a sacrifice to Heaven during praying for good weather in early spring.

The middle one just exchanged the hand and wheat.

The right one, left is hand, right one is a person kneeling down.

The small seal script for Worship is


The left is Hand, the right is wheat, but is different from the character Wheat.

The clerical script for Worship is


left is hand, right is wheat, different from the character Wheat though.

The song typeface is

Its Pinyin is Bai4.

拜 has widely used not only for Worship, but for serious visits between people normally means the visit is a formal, showing respect.

People worship Buddha



Hold incense and pray.

It is used also for visits during Chinese New Year period, people say "拜年“ (年 - Year, See Post 126).


and make a bow with hands folded in front, one is fist another is open palm.  

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (259) Forever - 永

The shell bone script for character Forever is


the middle
is a person.

The two sides mean a river.


Ancient Chinese believed the river never stops flowing, and it is endless going forward which is Forever. A person in the river could mixture into river to become part of the river which is forever alive.

Chinese proverb says "与山川同在,与日月同辉“ - With mountains and rivers, with the sun and the moon, which is forever.

The bronze script for character Forever is


The middle is a person, the river flow on the sides, similar to the shell bone script.

The small seal script for the character is


The middle person has the flow shape, and the two sides are water flow, which is similar to small seal script Water as below


Because ancient got water from river, so they draw a river to represent Water.

The clerical script for the character Forever is


The person in the middle could no long be recognized easily.

Let's compare it with clerical script of Water

The bottom parts are identical each other.

Its Pinyin is Yong3.

Chinese normally say "永远“, which is Forever. 永 - forever, 远 - far. 永 is used in formal writing, specially poems. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (258) Far - 远(遠)

The shell bone script for character of Far is


on the left we have some thing like


which is Cloth - 衣 (Post 140). Also we hav a Hand on the right bottom.

The right part is like a half intersection, which means road or street.

People carry some cloth and take on the road, which means Far. If it is not far, you don't need to bring more cloth. 



The bronze script for Far is


the left is Street/Road, the right top is Foot, the right middle is Cloth, and right bottom is another 
Foot.

The small seal script for Far is

The left top is Road, left bottom is Foot. The right top is Foot, the middle and bottom is Cloth.

The clerical script for Far is

The left and bottom is called "Walking radical", related to walking. The top right is Foot, and middle and bottom is Cloth.

The traditional song typeface for Far is

Very similar to clerical script.

Nowadays, we go a very far place on foot, we need to bring some cloth too.


The simplified song typeface is


The cloth disappeared.

Its pinyin is Yuan3.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (257) Page - 页(頁)

The shell bone script for character Page is

which is a person kneeling down with a big head and eye.

The original meaning is not Page, but mind, head, or brain. I think that it is more like mind.

Let's recall the shell bone script for character Head (Post 41)


only a head, no body. It is more like a physical head, no any mind activities.

The big seal script for character Page


on the top is the head, and middle is face (or eye some experts believe), the bottom is the body.

The small seal script for character Page is


which is a face on the top part, and two legs on the bottom half. 

I have to point out that in the shell bone script time (3000+ years ago), it was Neolithic age and Bronze Age, in the north China, rock painting was popular.



both rock paintings are from Yanshan, Inner Mongolia, China.

How could the meaning of the character have changed from mind to page? I have not found a good explanation.

What I guess is that the ancient Chinese thought that the rock painting is more like a mind activity, so they created a big head with big eye to emphasize the mind activity.  But there are tens thousands rock paintings, they took one painting to be one unit. After people invented paper making technology, they might have copied the rock paintings on paper. One painting on one page, so people use this character to represent Page.

The clerical script (after Paper making technology invented) for character Page,
Some similarity to its small seal script.

Traditional song typeface for Page

very similar to clerical script.

Its simplified song typeface is


Its pinyin is Ye4.

頁 or 页 means Page, has no any meaning of mind/head/brain at all, which is not common. Most characters keep the old meaning in some degree but 頁/页 is not.

So most Chinese don't know it meant Mind originally.