Saturday, April 17, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (370) Of - 之

 The shell bone script of character Of is

The top is a left foot, the bottom is earth. A foot is standing on the earth, which is same as a person is standing on the earth. It means "Right here", "Here is my base", "My root is here". 

The bronze script of the character is

The top is similar to Foot (Post 93)

But it is not. However, many people still think it as a foot, no earth. It is obvious that the bottom of the character Of is a long horizontal line, but the character Foot has the vertical line turns into horizontal line, which is totally different.

The small seal script of the character is

Which is similar to bronze script, but the rise of the left curve line makes the difference of the heights of the two curves is too close to tell. Many people misunderstood that there is one smooth curve from top left continuously to right top, which is like Grass - Head Radical.

《说文解字》- “Analytical Dictionary of Characters language”, the most famous dictionary of Chinese characters created in Han Dynasty, explains the character to be a grass growing from the earth, which is not the original meaning.

What did cause the mistake? One is that the author of the dictionary didn't see the shell bone script the the character because the shell bone script had disappeared before Han Dynasty. He didn't know that the top is foot. Second is that the small seal script is like grass in character grass. 

The clerical script of the character is

The left and middle strokes change to two dot, and the right stroke connects to the bottom stroke which becomes a right - falling stroke, a typical clerical stroke. The change is based on writing quicker but sacrificing the original pictography of the character

As time past, people changed it even more to the following

The left dot connects to the right left - falling stroke, which completely lost all pictography of the character. 

The song typeface of the character is

Same as clerical script.

The major meaning of the character now is Of or Somebody's.

Its Pinyin is Zhi1.

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