Today we will learn a Chinese character which is a colour. Let us check its evolution history first: ( screenshot taken from http://chinese-linguipedia.org )
|Learn one Chinese Character a day – 白|
Oracle Script and Bronze Script are believed to be drawing of our thumb. Below is the image of a thumb. The middle line inside refers to the dividing line between the pink and white area on the fingernail. You might be grumbling already "How can a thumb be used to mean a colour?".
Looking at the image of a thumb above, Chinese ancestors must have noticed that obvious white area at the root of the fingernail. It is not easy to find something that Chinese ancestors could draw to mean white colour, thus drawing of thumb was then borrowed to mean "White"
In our following lessons a few Chinese characters will be used to prove the guess that should be a drawing of thumb.
In Warring State Era, there is one variation of writing -, Seal Script and Clerical Script and current "白" were continuation of .
For now we are clear that "白" means White.
"白" is then extended to mean "Clear", "Bright", "Transparent", "Without other things", "Free", "Worthless" and etc.
OK, it is time to enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with "白" inside: