|Chinese Bronze Chime Bell|
Before explanation, let us examine its evolution history first: ( image got from http://vividict.com )
|Learn one Chinese Character a day - 南|
Below is a typical scene of playing musics with Bianzhong or Chinese Bronze Chime Bells.
That is clear that Original meaning of "南" is the musical instrument, but why it was then used to mean south?
Bianzhong or Chinese Bronze Chime Bells were dedicated for nobles' usage in ancient China, it was a symbol of social status and power. And Chinese Bronze Chime Bells were normally used only in an important ceremonies with nobles sitting in the north part of the hall (back to north while facing south， please recall how "北" is created), and the musical instruments placed in the south part. "南" was then used to mean South.
And in some ancient documents, we can see the original meaning of "南" used, which is a musical instrument.
That is it! It is time to enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with "南" inside: