Thursday, 14 January 2016

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 天

We have learnt 大 and 夫, and know that 夫 is 大 wearing a hairpin. What will be the meaning of 天 then with the dash  on top of 大?

What is on top of a standing man? You might have some ideas already. Let us examine its evolution history first to see whether we can get more clues there: ( image get from )

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 天
Oracle Script is the drawing of a man  with an emphasize on his head  used to mean Head of a man. This original meaning can only be seen in ancient articles, like "刑天舞干戚,猛志故常在".

When it slowly evolved along the way, Bronze Scripthas started to simplify  to solid dot. And it was further transformed to become in Seal Script and in Clerical Script, which is very close to what we use now - 天. Recall that can be used to mean Sky or Earth during our lessons for Chinese character "二" and “三”. So the above a standing man can only be Sky. That is why 天 is eventually used to mean Sky, while it is no longer used to mean Head. That is also why 天 has a subtle meaning of Above Head when it is grouped with other Chinese characters.

Now it is time to enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with "天" inside:

And our next lesson will continue with another Chinese character, whose Oracle Script is , guess what could be its meaning?

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