Monday, 31 October 2016

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 盟

Our character today is a quite complicated one - 盟, whose components that we have already learnt before. 

Looking at 盟,  its upper part is 明 and lower part is 皿. And 明 can be further divided into 日 and 月. 

What is the meaning of 盟 here? Recall that 皿 is a container, 明 means bright and transparent. With further division of 明 to 日 and 月: 日, 月 is eternal and seen by everybody. To guess its meaning, following picture would help a lot:
In ancient China, while people or countries would become alliance, they shall hold a ceremony: cut their fingertips to drop their blood into a bowl of rice wine, announce their alliance to 日 or 月, drink the mixed blood, state the binding of their lives and interests, then broadcast the news to everybody. It has become part of Chinese culture. If you ever watched the hongkong mafia movies, you would probably see such ceremonies when mafias were forming alliances. 

From the character of 盟, 明 means to make it known, 日 and 月 represents the eternal witness. And 皿 is the container which collects blood. And evolution history of 盟 proved that blood is an essential of the 盟. (image below is taken from
Learn one Chinese Character a day - 盟
 Oracle Script of 盟 is not surprisingly same as that of blood - . Some of the Oracle Script was trying to differentiate 盟 from 血, they added Sun () to form . Bronze Script   followed the idea with 明 on top of 血. While it evolved to Clerical Script - , lower part was then no longer blood (), but container (). Now  which is almost the same as its current form - 盟.

So 盟 means to become alliances publicly through a solemn ceremony. In short, 盟 means alliance. For Chinese characters, as a drawing, have no difference in verb or noun, 盟 can also be used as verb to mean forming alliances.

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

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