Saturday, 5 August 2017

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 册

Before we continue with our next character related to 门 or 户, today we need to prepare ourselves with a new character 册.

册 is a pictograph character and still preserves certain form of the ancient object. However it is now a bit hard to guess what it really refers to. Let us examine its evolution history to get some help: (image taken from:
Evolution history of 册
Its Oracle Script  is the drawing of using string  to bind many sticks  together. What is that for? Following picture shows you the idea clearly:
After Oracle Script, its Bronze Script , Seal Script  and early stage Clerical Script inherited the form of Oracle Script . While its later stage of Clerical Script is quite similar to what we write nowadays. 

You might have noticed that forms of Chinese characters changed or simplified a lot during Clerical Script (in Chinese 隶书). We will know why when we learn what 隶 originally means.

Now it is quite clear that 册 was used to mean books or notebooks, wiring on bamboo or wood sticks. And from how 册 was created, we can also draw a conclusion that Chinese ancestors already started to use bamboo or wood for writing, not only turtle shells, during Oracle Script period. Just bamboo or wood cannot be preserved as long as turtle shells.

So 册 original means book, for example 小册子. 
However Chinese ancestors created书 to mean books after paper was invented. And 册 is now mainly used as quantifier for books, for example 一册书.

That is all, it is time to end our lesson today with a Chinese calligraphy with 册 inside:

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