Saturday, March 12, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (485) Tang - 唐

Chinese call themselves Tang People, here Tang is Tang Dynasty, one of two great dynasties in Chinese history. Tang is used as a surname only, almost no other meaning anymore. 

Let's see what the original meaning of the character.

The shell bone script of character Tang is

Dictionary of Pictography explains it as that the Y is a head down person who put a bucket, 口 cross the Y, put into the bottom 口, which is a pond. He/she is taking water from the pond with bucket. 
The character means Pond.

However, this explanation is not good. Why is the person head down? What is the top of Y? Why is the top bucket even bigger than the pond? 

What my explanation is that the top is a container which some mud inside, the bottom is a big crack, or unwanted opening, or gap. The character means to block or seal the gap, or crack or opening.  The Y should be a forked stick.

The bronze script of character Tang is

If the top is bucket, why it has so big gap, could it take the water without leaking? The pond is even smaller. But if we think that the top is a container with mud, which is more reasonable.

The small script of character Tang is 

The top right now has two hands, one on each side.

The clerical script of the character is

which is changed very big. The top 厂 may be the character Working Site, the middle is character 聿, or 尹, both means "A hand holding a stick". The bottom is the gap. 

The pinyin of the character is Tang2.

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