Friday, October 29, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (449) Front - 前

 The shell bone script of character Front is

The left one: the outside is character Walk (Post 96)

the inside: the top is Foot (Post 93)

the bottom is Boat (Post 117)
The right one is the one inside of the left one.

The big seal script of the character is
The top 

is Foot, the bottom 
is Boat.

A foot in front of moving boat means Front. 《象形字典》- Dictionary of Pictography explanation: Boat tracker pulls the boat upstream. 

I don't agree with this explanation because 3000+ ago, there was no big boat, no boat trackers needed to pull the boat. The boatman normally stands in the bow of the boat, uses a pole to control the boat. So the position of the boatman is the front of the boat.

Small seal script of the character is
The top and the lower left together is similar to the big seal script, what is the right lower part? It is character Knife (Post 61). Dictionary of Pictography thinks that is character Person (Post 37), not Knife (Post 61). I disagree that again. It is Knife. The boatman holds a knife because many rivers at that time are covered spears of barbed wild grass flourished abundantly, or at least in summer. So the boatman had to cut the thorns in order to move his boat forward on the river.

The clerical script of the character is
The top is simplified to two dots and long horizontal stroke, the right lower part is Knife, the left lower part mistakenly written as character Moon (Post 53), it looks like Boat, but not. The meaning is totally different. 

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

The pinyin of the character 前 is Qian2.

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