The shell bone script of character Work is
which is very like ancient mortise-tenon structure.
a structure without a single nail.
or simplified one
There is dispute what it is. Some people including Dictionary of Pictography believe that it is a multiple functions iron tool used by carpenters. More people believe that it is impossible that there were iron tools in 3500+ year ago, it should be carpenter's ink marker.
The front box is ink box with black ink inside, the back box has a wire coil, there is a hole between the two boxes, the wire goes through the hole and another hold in front of the box to get out. The wire has ink on, carpenter puts the wire on wood he works on, and makes a straight line he needs.
There is a bamboo or metal nail on the end of the wire, the carpenter hits the nail on point A on the wood, he pulls the wire coil box to point C, and lifts up the wire at point B, then looses it, the wire drops on the wood, makes and a black straight line with the ink on the wire. The carpenter can cut or saw the wood along the line.
I prefer the meaning of the character is mortise-tenon structure.
The first character above has an ink box at the bottom and a nail on the top, which is like a carpenter ink marker. The second one is simplified, more like a beam support structure.
The bronze script of the character is
The bottom is like an ax, which let many people believe that it is a rammer. However it could be an ink box too.
The big seal script of the character is
which is more like a beam support structure with mortise-tenon connection.
The small seal script of the character is
Similar to big seal script.
The clerical script of the character is
Similar to older scripts.
The song typeface of the character is
Same as small seal script.
The Pinyin of the character is Gong1.
Therefore, Work includes work tools, and work products. The current meaning is to work.
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