Thursday, 16 February 2017

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 闭 | 閉

Today we move back to series of 门 | 門, and the character is 闭 | 閉. As we have learnt 门 and 才, what is the combined meaning of 闭? The most logical combination should be "what the door is capable of" like 财, or a simpler combination as "useful door" like 材?

Before we confirm the actual meaning of 闭, let us go through its evolution history first (image taken from
Learn one Chinese Character a day - 闭 | 閉

From Bronze script - , we can see the difference comparing to that of 关 | 關 - .  As we have pointed out, 关 | 關 emphasises the fact that door is closed (but may not be properly locked). While 闭 | 閉 emphasises "door properly locked".

With the Chinese style wooden gate, people normally use a big stick to ensure a complete closure of the gate during night, as illustrated as below:
闭 | 閉

Looking at its Seal Script , I believe that Chinese ancestors were already doing that during Seal Script period. That is probably the reason  inside  changed to  to emphasise a complete closure of the door with the help of an extra stick as shown above. Now you can see that  is pretty much the same writing as 才. And eventually a drawing of 闩 - was officially replaced with 才.

Getting back to our original guessing: "what the door is capable of", it is surprisingly very correct! Door is used to close an entrance or gate when necessary.

闭 is one of so many Chinese characters that once you know how it is created, you will never see it the same as before. And during this process, we can also tell the subtle but very important differences between 关 | 關 and 闭 | 閉, which might have puzzled us for a long time.

So 闭 | 閉 means to close, to obstruct, to stop, to end or to shut (completely).

Now let us enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 闭 inside:

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