Monday, 16 May 2016

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 宾 | 賓

Now we are well prepared to gusss the meaning of 宾, with its tranditional version 賓. This is another example why I dislike Simplified Chinese characters as they brutally break the inner logical and beauty of how Chinese characters were created. 

Let us examine the transitional version 賓. It is composed of 宀 (house), ,(step / walk) and 貝 (valuables). The aggregated logical meaning of them is "(a person) walk/step into house with valuable gifts". Who is that person? A distinguished guest! Is not it still pretty much the same way nowadays for people to treat certain guests as honored by their social status, wealth or dresses?

Anyway let us check its Oracle Script,  Bronze Script and etc to see whether they match with our interpretation. (Image taken from
Learn one Chinese Character a day - 宾 | 賓
Oracle Script has not included 貝 yet, it probably hints that 貝 was not popular during Oracle Script period yet. In Bronze Script 貝 appeared, which indicates that 貝 (cowrie only as learnt before) became a valuable thing or even currency during that period in ancient China. Seal Script finalized the form of 賓 since then.

Now getting back to Simplified version - 宾, it is composed of 宀 and 兵. 兵 means soldier which has same pronounciation as 賓. That is why 宾 used 兵 as its phonetic radical. But that is really a destructive way to simplify Chinese characters for purpose of reducing number of strokes - how come "soldier break into a house" can be used to mean honored guest?

Anyway, to conclude, 宾 | 賓 means honored guest or distinguished guest.

Now it is time to enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 宾 | 賓 inside.


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