Monday, 19 November 2018

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 牟

Our new character today is 牟, which is related to 牛 as well. From its current form, we are not sure what does its upper part  represent. It ancient scripts might be of great help, as shown below: (image taken from
evolution history of 牟

Now we can see from its Oracle script that initially the upper part was , which is 口. Recall what we have learnt with 鸣 | 鳴. We know that 牟 originally should mean sound made by a buffalo.

Starting from Seal Script era, was slowly changed to , which madeis very close what we write today: 牟.

As we known, First Emperor of Qin dynasty burned all books in China, and emperors of Han dynasty tried their best to rescue all ancient books by gathering elders to tell stenographers from their memories. Stenographers sometimes would write down a temporary character which has the same pronunciation in place of the correct one. Then eventually some characters were borrowed or phonetic loaned to represent same meaning of some other characters.

牟 is one of such characters. It pronounces the same as 谋, thus 牟 sometimes can replace 谋 in certain phases where 谋 should be used. So same as 谋, 牟 is also used to mean seek, strive for. For example 牟利.

The original meaning of 牟 is then represented with a newly created character. If it were you, how will you create the new Chinese character?

That is all for 牟, time to enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 牟 inside:
ps: story of "魏牟尺漇 裴度千缣" can be read here:

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