Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (298) To - 至

Chinese has few prepositions, this is one of them.

The shell bone script of character To is

The top is an up down Arrow (Post 38)

The bottom is a board.

I mentioned in previous posts: the shell bone script was written/drawn on bamboo slips which are very narrow, so people often drew the long object vertically. So the arrow touched the board vertically, which should mean that the arrow touched a vertical board horizontally.

The arrowed touched the board, which means that Arrive, Get there, which is the original meaning of the character.


However, Dictionary of Pictography -《象形字典》explains that the top is up-down character Across (Post 46)


which is a person crosses his legs. The bottom line is a bed. A person arrived at home, tired went to bed to sleep, which means "Arrived".

I don't know which one is right at this moment.

The small seal script of character To is


At this time (2000+ years ago), the character meant To.

The clerical script of the character To is

which is changed a lot. We can see neither an arrow nor a person with two legs across on the top.

Its Pinyin is Zhi4.

If you go China, you will see this character on the schedule board of flight, train, or bus:
上海 至 北京 (Shanghai to Beijing).

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