Sunday, April 12, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (271) Household - 户

The shell bone script of Household is

which is left half of character Door
The original meaning of Household is Single Door.

In comparison, the Door is double door or twin door

The popular doors we see right now

is belong to single door.

The big seal script for the character Household is

is a single door.

Even though the Single Door is still one of the character's meaning, but its major meaning has been  Household long time ago, possible more than two thousands years. It is unknown why people used single door to represent household instead of Door (double door). I guess that most people could only build a single door house by the financial situation, or most people were not allowed to build a double door house without being a high level official of government.

So when people talk ordinary people (> 99%), they mean those who live in houses with single door, not double door (very few).

The small seal script for the character is

which is very similar to older scripts, but there is tiny difference: the right vertical line is not touching the the top horizontal line. I don't know if it was written this way by mistake or intentionally.

The clerical script for the character is
We can see that the tiny difference in small seal script permanently changed the character in clerical script. The character has nothing to do with Door as following
Because this change, right now most Chinese don't know that 户 is from single door.

The Pinyin for character 户 is Hu4.

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