Monday, 5 September 2016

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 药 | 藥

After we have learnt 草, we now know that 艹 means grass. Then what is the meaning of our new character today - 药, whose Traditional version is 藥?

From Simplified version 药, there is no clue for us to know its exact meaning, except that 药 is something related to grass. Its Traditional version 藥, however, does provide us the necessary information to reason its meaning.

What is the 藥 composed of? Grass (艹) and Happy (樂, or its Simplified version - 乐). So 藥 is some grass to make (people) to feel better / happy. Isn't that clear now 藥 means Herbs?

Since 樂, or its Simplified version - 乐 also refers to Musics, I do feel that there is another layer of meaning Chinese ancestors would like to represent with 藥 as well: beautiful musics which make people feeling happy can actually be used to cure illness like herbs!

药 | 藥 is eventually extended to mean any medicine or drugs.

And in ancient China, warlocks tried to create certain medicine that can help to make people immortal. Emperor Qin Shihuang was a big fan of it. Details please find at Those warlocks accidentally invented Gunpowder out it. So 药 | 藥 also refers to Gunpowder or any explosive chemicals.
Emperor Qin Shihuang and Chinese Alchemy
And when 药 | 藥 is used as Verb, it can mean to cure patient.
We now know the meaning of 药 | 藥. Let us examine its ancient scripts to confirm our observation: (image taken from
Learn one Chinese Character a day - 药 | 藥
It is clear that its Bronze Script was created with  and , which is exactly the same way as current 藥.

Now it is time to enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 药 | 藥 inside:
术精岐黄, 妙药长生
Next we will start to learn a new Chinese character with its Oracle Script as , can you try to guess its meaning?

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