Today we are examine another Chinese character created with 皿 (a container), which is 益. Looking at 益 of today, we would not be able to reason its meaning. But if we know its Seal Script - , we would probably guess something close? Anyway let us check its evolution history first: ( image taken from http://vividict.com)
|Learn one Chinese Character a day - 益|
Seal Script of 益 - is composed of on top of a 皿. What is ? If we recall Seal Script of 水 (water) as . Then is now a vivid drawing of what is shown in below picture:
|what original meaning of 益 presents|
Yes, original meaning of 益 is "water overflows a container".
Now if we look back to Oracle Script of 益 -, it represents another layer of meaning that "pouring water () into a container ()".
Bronze Script has tried to change into to emphasise the fact that water overflows and is separated. However it is still confusing as could be read asand, where means eight or divide and means blood as what we just learnt.
That is why at Seal Script age, Chinese ancestor further tuned the character into to make it clear and sound.
From its Oracle Script , 益 was eventually borrowed to mean add or increase as verb, and more or further in adv.
As same as what is stated in the picture above - "My cup overflows with your blessings", pouring water into someone's own cup is like providing benefits to that person, that is why 益 is further extended to mean benefits or goodness or interests.
Since 益 now lost its original meaning, Chinese ancestors then created a new one in the place of it. If it were you, how would you do that? We will reveal the answer next.
Before ending our lesson today, let us now enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 益 inside: