Monday, December 27, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (466) Play with - 弄

 The shell bone script of character Play with is

The middle is 工 - Work (Post 465), the left and right are two hands. Here 工 is a simplified 王 - King (Post 244), but it means Jade (Post 244). Before clerical script, both King and Jade are three horizontal lines and one vertical line. The character above means that two hands playing with a jade which may be a very beautiful, valuable, and lovely. Play with a jade in one's hand, touching, watching, and feeling.


Chinese have loved jade since more than 3500+ years ago. Jade is not only artistic items, but very expensive treasure.  

The bronze script of the character is

The top is character Jade (玉 - Post 244), under it are two hands. 

The big seal script of the character is

Similar to bronze script.

The small seal script of the character is
Two hands bent more.

The clerical script of the character is
The bottom two hands become one long horizontal line, one vertical line, and one left falling line, which is a simplified form but making confusion. 

The song typeface of the character is
Same as the clerical script.

The pinyin of the character is Nong4.

弄 is a something people do in the spare time, or casual time as a hobby, not very serious, but enjoyable.


Sunday, December 26, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (465) Work - 工

 The shell bone script of character Work is


or simplified one



There is dispute what it is. Some people including Dictionary of Pictography believe that it is a multiple functions iron tool used by carpenters. More people believe that it is impossible that there were iron tools in 3500+ year ago, it should be carpenter's ink marker.


The front box is ink box with black ink inside, the back box has a wire coil, there is a hole between the two boxes, the wire goes through the hole and another hold in front of the box to get out. The wire has ink on, carpenter puts the wire on wood he works on, and makes a straight line he needs.

There is a bamboo or metal nail on the end of the wire, the carpenter hits the nail on point A on the wood, he pulls the wire coil box to point C, and lifts up the wire at point B, then looses it, the wire drops on the wood, makes and a black straight line with the ink on the wire. The carpenter can cut or saw the wood along the line. 

I agree with that the character means carpenter ink marker, which is important for carpenter work, which is important for most ancient projects.

The first character above has an ink box at the bottom and a nail on the top, which is like a carpenter ink marker. The second one is simplified, the box becomes a line.

The bronze script of the character is


The bottom is like an ax, which let many people believe that it is a metal tool. However it could be an ink box too. 

The big seal script of the character is
which is simplified ink marker on the bottom.

The small seal script of the character is

Similar to big seal script.

The clerical script of the character is
Similar to older scripts.

The song typeface of the character is
Same as small seal script.

The Pinyin of the character is Gong1.




Thursday, December 23, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (464) Repeat - 复(復)

 The shell bone script of character Repeat is

The top pot alike is a city, the bottom is a foot. A guard (most likely) walks in the city back and forth again and again to keep public safety.

The bronze script of the character is

The circle with a dot inside is a city, the top and mirror part on the bottom are two watchtowers, the lowest bottom is a foot or a person, which has dispute. But anyway, the meaning is the same: Guard patrols in the city.

The big seal script of the character is
The left is character Cloth (Post 140). the right one is similar to bronze script above, the bottom is character Foot. Why is there a cloth? I don't know. Probably it means the uniform of the guard. 

The small seal script of the character is

The left is character Cloth, and the right one is from the right part of older scripts but one circle in older script becomes two circles. The bottom is foot, and the top is simplified, not like a watchtower anymore. 

There is another small seal script (very rare because small seal script is one form for one character),

same as the right part of the character above.

The clerical script of the character is

The left is Radical Double Person, which means Road, or Street, not cloth. But it is fit the meaning of patrol on the street. The right part: middle is 日, which is Sun. Dictionary of Pictography explains that 日 is a mistakenly written city, the top is similar to the top of small seal script, the bottom is a foot.

The traditional song typeface of the character is
Same as clerical script.

The simplified song typeface of the character is

Which is the right part of the traditional script above.

The pinyin of the character is Fu4.





Saturday, December 11, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (463) Latitude - 经

 The bronze script of character Latitude is

left is a radical of silk which means anything related to silk or cloth, the right one 

is a shuttle of weaver with vertical cotton or silk thread.

There is a dot near right bottom, which is an indicative sign to emphasize the point: the handle of the shuttle. Here is the key part of the shuttle. The character means manage, experience, bear, etc.

The big seal script of the character is
similar to the bronze script.

The small seal script of small seal script is
similar to older scripts.

The clerical script of character is
the left is silk radical, the right is the shuttle of weaving.

The traditional song typeface of the character is
Same as the clerical script.

The simplified song typeface of the character is
lost most of pictography.

The pinyin of the character is Jing1.



Saturday, December 4, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (462) Han - 汉

Han is a very popular and very important character, which has many meanings: Han Dynasty, Han Nationality, Han Language (Standard Chinese), Han Cloth, etc. Han means China or Chinese related.

Han Dynasty (202 B.C. - 220 A.D.) is one of two most powerful dynasties in China history, another one is Tang Dynasty (628 - 907 A.D.). Chinese have been proud of Han Dynasty, call themselves to be Han People, Chinese (language) to be Han language. 

Let's see the evolution of the character of Han.

The shell bone script of Han character has not been found. The earliest script for Han character is big seal script.

The left is Water (Post 13), the right is Violet (Post 460). The character means that a river with lush viola in the banks, which is Han River in north west China where was the richest, and the most developed area in ancient China. 

The small seal script of the character is

Similar to big seal script.

The clerical script of the character is


Left is Three-drops radical, the right is character Violet. 

The song typeface for traditional character is

Same as clerical script.

The song typeface for simplified character is

The left is not changed, but the right one becomes character Again (Post 102), which has nothing to do with violet. The simplification is unreasonable, totally just for reducing the number of strokes. 

The pinyin of the character is Han4.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (461) Diligent - 勤

 The bronze script of character Diligent is

The left is character Violet - 堇 (Post 460), the right long curve is character Power - 力 (Post 168), which originally means a plow. A person who uses plow the violet and grass to plant crops,  is diligent.


In the ancient time, there were much less farm cattle, most of time, people pull the plow, very tough jon. Those people are diligent.

The dictionary of pictography explanation for this character is that a person who is sentenced to death working harder than normal people because it explains the left part 堇 as a hang and fire punishments. But I don't think that they are right explanations. 

The big seal script of the character is

Similar to the bronze script.

The small script of the character is
The left is similar to the corresponding part in older scripts. The right part is the long curve plow in the older scripts, but shorter and more straight.

The clerical script of the character is
The left part is similar to the left of older scripts, but the round circle becomes a rectangle, the two dots disappeared, and the falling strokes become horizontal line.

The song typeface of the character is

Almost same as the clerical script.

The Pinyin of the character is Qin2.


Monday, November 29, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (460) Violet - 堇

 The bronze script of character Violet is


The Dictionary of Pictography explanation is that the top is a person who shouts or cry while being hanged, and burnt on the bottom. However the bottom 

is the bronze script of character Mountain (Post 1), not the bronze script of character Fire (Post 26)

The lower part of top looks like a person, the top is like character Mouth (Post 16), but people point out that if a person is being hanged, he couldn't shout. But what is the top? I think that a person with a big container on his head for collecting violet on a mountain. The violet is eatable, people pick up them to be food when the natural disaster time.

The big seal script of the character is
which has no human head on the top, the bottom is character Soil (Post 223). It may be a drawing of the violet, but from a view we don't understand.

The small seal script of the character is
Similar to big seal script.

The clerical script of the character is 

All lines are straight now, which is the revolutionary change from the older scripts to clerical script.

The song typeface of the character is
Almost same as the clerical script.

The pinyin of the character is Jin3.

This is a rarely used character, I normally don't introduce this kind characters. However, 堇 is so important in many important compound characters, including character 汉(漢), which form 汉字 -  Chinese. We should know where the Chinese original is from. This is the reason I introduced this character in this post even though it is not very clear to get the true meaning of character in ancient Chinese mind. 


Friday, November 26, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (459) Slippery - 滑

 The big seal script of character Slippery (or Slip) is

The left is character Water (Post 13), the right is character Bone (Post 458). The Water means liquid, which could be oil. No matter it is oil or water, when the bone gets wet, it is slippery. There is another explanation by Su Shi - 苏轼 (Song Dynasty),  one of the most famous poet in Chinese history, he thinks that the character means "The bone of water", which is ice. Of course, ice is slippery. I like the explanation .

The small seal script of the character is

The left is Water, the right is Bone.

The clerical script of the character is
The left is Water Radical, the right is character Bone.

The song typeface is
Almost same as clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Hua2.


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (458) Bone - 骨

 The shell bone scripts of character Bone are



The left two are big cow scapula which can be used in divination by writing some characters on it and burn it on fire to see the cracks on bone to predict the good or ill luck. 


The inside of the two bones (left two) are the cracks. 
The right two bones are ribs or leg/arm bones, which support and protect the body. 

The big seal script of the character is

The top is one of shell bone scripts of character Bone above: ribs or leg/arm bones, the bottom is character Meat (Post 252). Meat means body parts, bones are belong to body. 

The small seal script of the character is


The top are bones, but because they are bent because there is no straight lines in small seal script. The bottom is character Meat which is like character Moon (Please see Post 252 for explanation). 

The clerical script of the character is 

Similar to small seal script.

The song typeface of the character is 
Very similar to clerical script.

Its pinyin is Gu3.