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.




Saturday, November 20, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (457) All - 皆

  The bronze script of character All is

The top is two person, the bottom is character 曰 - Say (Post 341). All people say something at the same time.

In comparison with character Order from King (Post 455)


Only one person is saying (making order), implying that all others are listening, which is King. 

The big seal script of the character is

Similar to bronze script.

The small seal script of the character is
The top is two person facing right, the bottom is not like character Say - 曰 below, the difference is big.

It has some similarity to character White below, even though not the same 

I don't know the reason.

The clerical script of the character is 
The top is character 比 - compete (Post 162), the bottom is character White (Post 456), which is from its small seal script, but go even further to White-alike to White character. It is away from the original meaning of the character. 

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

The pinyin of the character is Jie1.



Amazing Chinese Characters (456) White - 白

 The bronze script of character White is


There are disputes on what it is above. Dictionary of Pictography (《象形字典》) explains that it is a cooked rice particle because it looks like the rice. Many people believe that it is the Sun, which looks like the character Sun - 日 (Post 4). Some people think that it is the outline of thumb, and the line inside indicates the lunula on the thumbs which is white. 

I prefer to the last explanation, it means the lunula color, not the sun, not the rice. The evidence could be found in other characters, for example, 伯 - Person radical on the left, and character White on the right, which means the oldest brother, or the best person, or the number one. People give thumb up to praise the best, the number one.

The bronze script of the character is


Similar to shell bone script.

The big seal script of the character is

Similar to older scripts.

The small seal script of the character is
Similar to older scripts except there is a short vertical line on the top middle, which I think is nothing to do with the pictography, but just for distinguishing it from the character Sun - 日. It would be the same as character Sun if it had no this vertical short line.

The clerical script of the character is
The curve line becomes straight lines, and the top middle vertical line becomes left-falling stroke, which is to distinguish it from the character Sun -  日.

The song typeface of the character is 

Same as the clerical script.

The Pinyin of the character is Bai2.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (455) Order from King or Emperor - 旨

 Shell bone script of character Order from King or Emperor

The top is character Person (Post 57), the bottom is character Mouth (Post 16). A person makes order by his mouth. 

There is another character Order - 令 (Post 152),
The top is a mouth talking downward to a person kneeling down. 

Both mean Order, but the one we discuss in this post is the Order from King or Emperor, because no one else can only use 令. not 旨. which is used only by King or Emperor. In Google, almost all English explanations are Order or Decree or Purpose, all are wrong. They may be right or partially right only the character is used in a word of combination of two characters. 

I need to point out that the Dictionary of Pictography - 《象形字典》explains that the top is a spoon or fork, the bottom is Mouth eating, which is nothing to do which Order. I think the explanation is wrong.

The bronze script of the character is

The top is a person, the bottom is character Say - 曰 (Post 341). A person makes (Says) order.

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

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

The clerical script of the character is

The top become 匕 - Dragger (Post 453), which most of time means Person, not Dragger. Here is Person. The bottom is character Say - 曰.

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

The Pinyin of the character is Zhi3. 



Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (454) Here - 此

  The shell bone script of character Dragger is

The left is character Foot (Post 93), the right is character Person (Post 37), but facing right (original Person is facing left). A foot of the person is where he stands: here he is.

The bronze script of the character is

The left is Foot, the right is Person.

The big seal script of the character is

The left is Foot, the right is Person.

The small seal script of the character is

The left is Foot, the right is character 匕 - Dragger (Post 453). Just I discussed in Post 453, character 匕 is not clear on its meaning, originally is Person, but gradually shifting to Dragger. From the meaning of this character, the right part should be a Person, not a Dragger. 

If we re-read Post 453, the right part originally means Mother, so "A foot near Mother" means a physical and mental home for anyone: Here, I am from Here, belong to Here. 

The clerical script of the character is

The left is Foot, the right is character 匕. 

The song typeface of the character is 

Same as clerical script. 

The pinyin of character 此 is Ci3.

Amazing Chinese Characters (453) Dragger - 匕

 The shell bone script of character Dragger is



It is similar to character Person (Post 37)

The difference is the forearm up in character Dragger, which may be a dragger or short knife held by the person.

Also it is a shell bone script for character 妣 - a traditional character meaning Mother, who does housework. It may be the Mother who holds a dragger or short knife as a tool for house working. There is another explanation: The ancient dragger is like spoon, 
which is big seal script of character Spoon (Post 207), the dot or short horizontal line is food on the spoon.

The bronze script of the character is
which is a person facing right.

The big seal script of the character is

which looks like a up-down person. 

The small seal script of the character is
which is like character Person

just facing opposite direction.

It is similar to character Knife too (opposite direction)


The clerical script of the character is

which is similar to big seal script, like a person sitting with arm up. It is also like the small seal script of Knife above, but 90 degree counter clockwise turn.  

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

The Pinyin of the character is Bi3.

The character has two meanings:

1, the dragger if it is an independent character, or used in word 匕首. 

2, a person if it is part of a character.

How did the character have Dragger meaning? Probably there was some draggers in the ancient time which have this kind shape.

The situation is similar to character 月: which means Moon if it is used as a character, but means Body, or Organ or Meat if it is a part of a character.