Monday, 27 August 2018

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 牛

Our character today is 牛, which is a pictograph character. Hard to guess what it is due to the transformation and simplification along the time. We will need the help from its ancient scripts.

Let us examine its revolution history as below: (image taken from
Evolution history of 牛

It is kind of clear that its Oracle script  or is the stick figure of the head of a buffalo, comparing to the picture of a Buffalo below:

you might be wondering that how come we draw the whole body for 马, 龟, 鱼, 象 and other animals, but only head of a bull? the answer is that, same as other civilisations, 牛 is one of the major sacrifice Chinese offered while worshipping gods. Head of 牛 will be mainly used:
Head of a Boffalo

Yes, 牛 means bull, buffalo or cow, and any animal that looks similar to buffalo. for example: 野牛

Since 牛 has great strength and is the main labour force Chinese ancestor used for farming, 牛 is extended to mean very strong and powerful.

牛 sometimes can become very stubborn and not willing to listen to the commands of a farmer, thus 牛 also has the meaning of stubborn.
Stubborn Buffalo

that is all for 牛, let us enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 牛 inside:

our next character will be for sheep or goat, if it were you who was creating it, how would you do?

Monday, 13 August 2018

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 像

We have just learnt 象. Today we move on to one Chinese character which is composed of 象 and 人: 像. Based on our understanding of 象, the possible combination is as below:

a. a person (人) with an elephant (象) (doing something?);
b. the (abstract) things or characteristics (象) of a human being (人);

Chinese ancestors does no special activities with 象 in ancient China as Chinese did not know how to train elephant to work together.

Option b is a more reasonable combination: what human being looks like!

So 像 means appearance of a person. for example: 人像.

Similar but different from 象, 像 is used to represent the appearance of someone or something by the action or art of imitating, including the way of reflection or refraction of lights on mirrors and etc. For example 录像机, and 图像.

Below is the evolution history of 像: (image taken from
evolution history of 像

We can see that Seal Script  is composed of exactly the same components as what we write today:  (a person)and  (elephant).

That is all for today, time to enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 像 inside: