Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (382) Vegetable - 菜

 The bronze script of character Vegetable is


The top left is a hand, the top right are two leaves of a plant, the bottom is character Wood (tree), here is the plant which may be a tree or small plant. The hand is picking the leaves as vegetable. 

The big seal script of the character is

Similar to bronze script but the positions are different: the top are the leaves, the middle is the hand, and the bottom is the plant. 

The small seal script of the character is


Similar to big seal script except most strokes change from curves to straight lines.

The song typeface of the character is
 

Same as clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Cai4.

菜  means not only vegetables but any real food for meals including meat, eggs,  and cooked dishes, but not the snacks, cakes, cookies, etc. Originally, the food you can buy in farmer's market. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (381) Tool - 具

  The shell bone script of character Tool is

The middle part of both characters is tripod with a big cooking pot on the top, which is big pot for King's meal, or a banquet for guests in the palace. There are two hands holding the tripod on the bottom (left one) or on the top (right one).

The original meaning of the character is cooking pot with tripod. 

The bronze script of the character is


The left one is similar to the left shell bone script above, the right one has no ears on the pot, and the legs and the hands overlapped in the middle fingers, which is unreasonable.

The big seal script of the character is

Similar to bronze script (left one) above.

The small seal script of the character is


The top changes, it looks like the right one of bronze script above, but it is actually character Eye.

The clerical script of the character is

The top changes again, it is three horizontal lines inside of the top (the pot), with a long horizontal line in the bottom, the two hands become two long dots. Some similarity to the old script, but difficult to relate it to cooking pot with tripod.

The character has changed its meaning to be tools, any tool including cookware, the original meaning disappeared.

The song typeface of the character is

Same as the clerical script.

Its pinyin is Ju4.




Monday, April 26, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (380) Name - 名

 The shell bone script of character Name is


The left is character Mouth (Post 16), and the right is character Evening (Post 52), which means that call somebody in the evening. 《象形字典》 - The Dictionary of Pictography explains "Parents call children to come home in the evening". Here "call" means calling names of children.

I agree but they may not only call children, may call other family members too.

The bronze script of the character is

The top is Evening, the bottom is Mouth.

There is another bronze script for the character.


The top is Moon, the bottom is Mouth. Acutually, the character Evening is moon too but not very bright because it is moon of early evening. The Moon is late evening or around midnight, when it is very bright. The above one is to call family member in late evening.

The big seal script of the character is

Similar to the first bronze script.

The small seal script of the character is


Similarly, the top is Evening, the bottom is Mouth.

The clerical script of the character is

Similar to the older scripts.

The song typeface of the character is

Very similar to clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Ming1.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (379) Cry - 哭

 The shell bone script of character Cry is


A person raises his hands to sky for help, the two 口s are mouths, which means he open his mouth often and cry loud as two people are crying or as he has two mouths crying. 

The bronze script of the character is

A person opens his arm (to the right), and cry for help.

The big seal script of the character is

The two 口 - mouth on the top, and the bottom is character Dog, which means that the sound of crying is like a beaten dog crying.

Similar to big seal script.

The clerical script of the character is

The bottom is the character Dog too, same ideogram as the big, small scripts.

The song typeface of the character is

Same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Ku1.


Amazing Chinese Characters (378) Estimate and Make - 估, 做

The character of Estimate was same as character Trade (Post 377) because the bamboo measuring cylinder used to trade liquor is actually estimate, not accurate. 

As the time passed, the Estimate is separated from the character Trade - 沽. I found the big seal script of the character Estimate from 《在线汉语字典》-  Online dictionary of Chinese characters

The left is Person-Radical, the right is like character Ancient but actually is cylinder. The person uses the cylinder to estimate the liquor.

I have to point out that all other dictionaries do not list the above script as big seal script of Estimate. All list None in big seal script. So I am not sure if the above script is accepted by experts, highly unlikely but I don't know the reason why.

Even  《在线汉语字典》 - Online dictionary of Chinese Characters doesn't list small seal script of the character Estimate, neither all other dictionaries.

But all dictionaries list the clerical script of character Estimate

The left is Person-Radical, and the right is character Ancient but actually is bamboo measuring cylinder.

I could say that the character Estimate is separated from the Trade 沽 since clerical script. They may be the same before clerical script which was popular since Han Dynasty, about 2000 years ago. But we found a big seal script of character Estimate, which means that some people in some where might have used the character Estimate but not very popular. 

The song typeface of the character is


Its pinyin is Gu1 (same as 沽's pinyin).

Let's talk about character Make, a related character.

 All dictionaries have no shell bone, bronze, big seal, small seal scripts for character Make except 《在线汉语字典》- Online Dictionary of Chinese Characters, which has big seal script of character Make


The left is character Estimate. There is a little bit difference: the short horizontal line above the cylinder instead of a dot in the character Estimate. But they are same,  both are the hand holding the handle.

The right part is a hand (the bottom) holding a tool (the top), meaning to hit, here is to make the bamboo cylinder.

All dictionaries including 《在线汉语字典》-  Online Dictionary of Chinese Characters don't have small seal script, which is very rare.

The clerical script of the character is
Similar to the big seal script.
 
The song typeface of the character is


Its pinyin is Zuo4.

The character 做 was not a early created. but it is used very often nowadays.


Saturday, April 24, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (377) Trade (Liquor) - 沽

 The bronze script of character Estimate is


The left is Water-Radical, the right is a bamboo measuring cylinder just like the following

The bottom is the cylinder, the vertical line is the handle, the dot in the middle of the handle is the hand holding the handle. 

Each cylinder has a certain capacity, estimate not accurate. The seller inserts a cylinder into the Jar, submerged the cylinder into liquor, pulls it up, and pours the liquor into buyer's container. The original meaning of the character is Buy or Sell liquor.

The big seal script of the character is


Similar to the bronze script except the short line in the cylinder disappeared, which looks like character Ancient (Post 302)


The change has made great confusion on related characters later on because people think it as Ancient when it actually means Cylinder.

The small seal script of the character is


The left is Water, the right is character Ancient but actually a bamboo cylinder. 

The clerical script of the character is



Similar to small seal except the left becomes Water-Radical, which means Water anyway.

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

Its Pinyin is Gu1.

沽 original buy or sell liquor or soy sauce or vinegar, but it expands to means general trade other items. It also means the estimate of the value of the trade item in pre-trade, especially the estimate of intangible assets. The trade may not be completed.


Friday, April 23, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (376) Mutual - 相

 The shell bone script of character Mutual is

or 

Both have a character Wood (tree), and character Eye. The first one, the eye is in the side of the tree; the second one, the eye is on the top of the tree.

The character means that a person is looking at a tree to check up to find something. It is not just See, but Observe.

The explanation in《象形字典》- The dictionary of pictography is that a person is standing on the tree to look, which many readers disagree, me too. Because there is only one character with eye over tree, all others in different scripts are side eye. Even the top eye could be looking at little tree from the top.

The bronze script of the character is

Similar to shell bone script. The left is Wood (tree), the right is Eye.

The small seal script of the character is
Similar to older scripts.

The meaning of the character changed to Mutual at least more than 2000 years ago, no looking at from one side but Observe each other.

The clerical script of the character is
Similar to older scripts except the straight strokes replaced the curves.

The song typeface of the character is

Its Pinyin is Xiang1.

Now, 相 also means "Appearance", "Photograph", which are related to Observe. 





Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (375) Ancient Tripod - 鼎

The shell bone of character Ancient Tripod is


Which is a big ancient cooking vessel with two loop handles and three or four legs. It is difficult to make, so only Kings had this kind vessel for cooking. However, the kings made some very big tripods not for cooking but showing their power. They were put inside the palace near the chair of the King.


Because the ordinary people couldn't be able to make the big metal tripod.

The bronze script of the character is


Similar to shell bone script but the two ears are touched.

The big seal script of the character is


Similar to the older scripts except the two ears are connected.

The small seal script of the character is
Similar to older scripts but no ears.

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

The song typeface of the character is
Its Pinyin is Ding3.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (374) Fight - 鬥

 The shell bone script of character Fight is


Two people are fighting with their hands cross each other.

The small seal script of the character is


The outside curves on two sides are people's body, the inside two 出 are their hands.

The clerical script of the character is


The curved bodies become straight vertical lines, the hands become two 王. 

The song typeface for the traditional character is

Almost same as its clerical script.

The song typeface for the simplified character is

 

Which has 0 similarity to old scripts because it is from making use of character Grain Measure Bucket (Post 373). Making use of or borrow another character to be different meaning is a way to expand the vocabulary in the past. But this time happened in 1950s, the experts of Chinese simplification used the way to combined the two characters 斗,鬥 into one 斗 to eliminate the character 鬥. A way to simplify Chinese characters: let some characters disappeared.

Right now, 鬥 is not a character in simplified Chinese; 斗 has two meanings: Fight and Grain Measure Bucket. 


Amazing Chinese Characters (373) Grain Measure Bucket - 斗

 The shell bone script of character Grain Measure Bucket is


Which is a measure bucket used for thousands years until 1950s. The latest Grain Measure Bucket is like the following


 

The ancient bucket should be different, which looks like a deep and big spoon.

The bronze script of the character is


Similar to shell bone script.

The big seal script of the character is

Similar to the older scripts.

The small seal script of the character is


Which is from nowhere. I don't know why it becomes like that.

The clerical script of the character is


Some similarity to older scripts except small seal script.

The standard script of the character is


Which has a little bit similarity to clerical script, but it is difficult to see any sign of a bucket.

The song typeface of the character is

Same as the standard script.

Its Pinyin is Dou3.

Chinese are not using 斗 as a measurement instrument any more, but the character is in many proverbs.