Friday, 23 December 2016

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 户

Our character today is 户. Based on its current form, it is quite hard to believe that it has close relationship with 门 | 門. However with the help of its Oracle Script we should immediately know its original meaning. So let us examine its evolution history: (image taken from
Learn one Chinese Character a day - 户
Comparing to what we have just learnt  , Oracle Script of 户 -  is quite clear now: Half of a Double Door, or just Single Door. That is its original meaning.

Its Seal Script was added  to emphasise the fact that door is made by wood. I guess doors were made of other materials along the time,  was thus simplified back to , then slow change to  and then to 户 as of now.

Below is a photo of what a 户 looks like in China:
户 - Single Door
In ancient China, wealthy family would build a house with big double door painted in red colour:
門 - Double Door

While a poor or small family could only install a Single Door. That is why we say 小户人家.

That also explains the meaning of 门当户对:when getting married, if you have a double door house, then marry somebody living in a big house; if what you have is only a single door apartment, then you should marry somebody living in a small apartment as well.

As 门 | 門 is eventually dedicated to mean all types of doors, 户 is then used to mean Family or Household. But please do remember its original meaning while it is used as a Chinese Radical.

Now it is time for us to enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 户 inside:

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