After learning both important and common livestock 牛 and 羊, we now start to examine a few Chinese characters created with them.
Our character today is one of that - 牧. What does it mean? It is composed of two parts : 牛 and 攵, of which we know that 牛 means Buffalo, while what does it mean by 攵?
As usual, we can get the help from its ancient scripts shown below: (image taken from: http://vividict.com)
|Evolution history of 牧|
It Oracle Script is a drawing of a hand holding some stick or whip to (control) the buffalo , like below paint:
So 攵 actually represents "a hand holding a stick or whip". Sound familiar? recall what we learnt on http://xiongzou.blogspot.com/2016/11/learn-one-chinese-character-day_28.html regarding 殳.
Its Bronze Script followed the Oracle version but swapped 牛 and 攵. The Seal Script continued with Bronze Script.
So 牧 has the meaning of cowherd, and is eventually used to mean pasture or shepherd any herd, or even manage or govern people. In ancient China, some officer titles were named with 牧, like 徐州牧, which means this is an officer who governs the state called 徐州.
That is all for 牧, let us enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 牧 inside: