Thursday, September 14, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (176) Ascend - 登

The shell bone script for character Ascend is

or

The top one has a


which is a pot, and the top two


are two feet.

The bottom one has the top same as the top character, plus the bottom two parts which are hands.

So what we have is a picture seeing from top down : two hands hold a big pot, ascending sacrificial altar. The process is ascending.

The top character has no hands, may be from different angle, people could only see the feet, not the hands. Anyway, both have the same meaning: Ascend.

The small seal script for the character is


The bottom part is similar, the top two feet are small seal script for feet.

The clerical script for the character is
Still the bottom part is similar, the top changed more, not like feet anymore.

The current standard printing script is


Its pinyin is Deng1.

Amazing Chinese Characters (175) Bean - 豆

The shell bone script for character Bean is


or

Both are pots with high legs, the bottom has a lid, the top one doesn't. The short line inside of the top poart of both pots is the Bean. People cook the bean in the pot. It is an indicative character, the short line is the indicator for bean.

The big seal script for the character is
 
The short line for the bean disappeared, which actually is a pot with lid. However, it keeps the Bean meaning. I don't know why people eliminated the short line.

The small seal script for the character is


which is similar to its big seal script.

Its clerical script is
which is similar to big and small seal scripts.

The current standard printing script is

very similar to the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Dou4.





Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (174) Sand - 沙

The shell bone script for character Sand is



which are small particles of sand.

The character also meant Small or Less. Both Small and Sand shared the same character.

However, the character was used for Small only later on.

So ancient Chinese added Water to the left of the character to make a new character Sand in bronze script:


Also in big seal script


small particle near water are Sand, which is good ideogram character.

Its small seal script is


The clerical script for the character

All left parts are Water, the right parts are Less (or Small).

The current standard script is


Its Pinyin is Sha1.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (173) Towel - 巾

The big seal script for character Towel is



The middle vertical line is a rope, which ties the arch-alike towel.

The small seal script for the character is


which is similarity to the big seal script.

The clerical script for the character is

The current standard printing script is


All scripts are very similar. 

Its Pinyin is Jin1.

Amazing Chinese Characters (172) Hang - 吊

The shell bone script for character Hang is


The middle one


is Person or People.

The bend curve with an arrow is a rope. The character means that using a rope to tie a person and hang on some where. It is ideogram character.

The big seal script for the character is

which changed a lot, no similarity to the shell bone script.

The top is a person's head, and the bottom

is Towel or Cloth or any thing related, including the ropes made by cloth. Here is rope. The character means that using a rope to hang a person, which is same meaning as the shell bell script.

The small seal script for the character is

which is similar to the shell bone script.

The clerical script for the character is

which is similar to the big seal script.

It is unclear why the character changed back and forth.

The current standard printing script is


which is almost same as its clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Diao4.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (171) Window - 窗

The shell bone script for Window is


which is a ventilation window.



The big seal script for the character is

The small seal script for the character is


There is a top over the window, which means "cave house", or a cave for living. Ancient Chinese digged caves for residence. There are many people live in cave houses in Northwest China.



The clerical script for the character is

It has some similarity to small seal script.

The current standard script is


Its Pinyin is Chuang1.


Amazing Chinese Characters (170) Man - 男

The shell bone script for character Man is

the left part is character Field,



the right part is character Power


actually it is a plow.



Man is the one who is ploughing in the field. It is true, in the ancient time, only men took care of ploughing field. At that time, Ox were not trained to pull the plow, men had to pull the plow.

The character is an ideogram.

The small seal script for the character is


The character Field is on the top, and the Power (plow) is on the bottom.

The clerical script for the character is


The current standard printing script is


Its pinyin is Nan2.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (169) Power or Strength - 力

The shell bone script for character Strength is


which is a plow.



Ancient Chinese used man power to pull the plow (not Ox), so only the most powerful and strength man could pull the plow.

Let's see its big seal script


and its small seal script


The clerical script for the character is


which changed a lot, difficult to see the similarity.

The current standard printing script is


very similar to the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Li4.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (168) Smell - 臭 or 嗅

The shell bone script for character Smelly or Smell is


The top is a nose,

and the bottom is a dog,


The original meaning of this script is verb Smell, a dog nose can smell everything.

But the meaning changed to noun Smell, or adjective Smelly.

Let's see the small seal script,


same as its shell bone script, the top is nose, and the bottom is dog.

The clerical script is

which has some similarity to the small seal script.

Because its meaning has changed to noun Smell, or adjective Smelly, the verb Smell became


  adding a 口 (Mouth) on the left of character Smell.

The current standard printing scripts are


and

The pinyin for 臭 is Chou4, and the pinyin for 嗅 is Xiu4.



Amazing Chinese Characters (167) Self - 自

The shell bone script for character Self is


which is a picture of nose.


Originally, the character meant Nose. But the meaning changed later to Self. Why did ancient Chinese use nose to be Self? Because Chinese like to use a finger to point to his or her nose when they say "me" or "self" (Americans like to point to his or her chest), so the nose represents "self".

Let's see the small seal script,


which changed a lot, but still has some similarity to a nose.

The clerical script is


which is similar to the small seal script.

The current standard printing script


which is very similar to the clerical script.

Its pinyin is Zi4.

I need to point out that there was another character created sometime later,


pronounced Za2, one 口 (Mouth) added to the left of 自, which meanis I or Me or Self, being used more often in oral Chinese. 

It is understandable, people point the Mouth and Nose area to indicate Self.