Sunday, 25 June 2017

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 扇

Our new character today is 扇, which is composed of 户 and 羽. What does it mean?

Its original meaning is quite clear: a door which opens and closes like flapping wings, illustrated as below.

So you would not be surprised to see 扇 to be used as quantifier of doors or windows, for example: 一扇门.

In ancient China, while emperor was patrolling his country, two concubines would hold a big 扇 each to help to block the Sunlight, shield dust and wind for the emperor. Such 扇 was made by bird feathers and sometimes waved like what 扇 originally means. That is why 扇 was used to mean it, which is shown below:
two 扇 for an emperor
When it comes to Han dynasty, Chinese invented a small version of above 扇 to cool themselves during summer season. thus became what it means now - fan, not limited to bird feathers any longer. For example the most famous military adviser in China history - 诸葛亮, whose classic image is with his 羽扇:

诸葛亮 with his 羽扇
We can see from its evolution history that 扇 has not changed much from its first appearance as Seal Script till now: (image taken from
evolution history of 扇
To end our lesson today, it is time to enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 扇 inside:


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