Friday, April 23, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (376) Mutual - 相

 The shell bone script of character Mutual is


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. 

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