Monday, 28 October 2019

Our character today is 亦. We might not know how it was created now, but can see its likeness after knowing its ancient scripts (image taken from http://vividict.com/):
evolution history of 亦

 It's Oracle Script is to add two indicators  to the side of a person . Its Bronze script  and Seal script  followed the same pattern.

What does it mean here? I guess Chinese ancestors was trying to draw the movements of a person, something demonstrated as below:

So the original meaning of 亦 is a person who is walking. If we look back at 亦 now, does not it still look like a walking person?

Since everybody walks in the same way, thus 亦 contains the meaning of the same, as well or too. for example 不亦乐乎.

And while we are walking, our hands and legs keep doing the same pattern, which can conclude to the meaning of the same as well.

Kids learn and copy the way adult walks, 亦 thus contains a subtle meaning of copy to do the same, for example 亦步亦趋.

That is all for 亦, time to enjoy Chinese calligraphy with 亦 inside:
茶亦醉人何必酒; 书能香我不须花


Sunday, 22 September 2019

Our character today looks very simple: 不, which thus provides much little information for us to guess its meaning. From my memory, the closest drawing among Chinese characters is 木. So is 不 created somehow from 木 (details of 木 goes here: https://xiongzou.blogspot.com/2015/12/learn-one-chinese-character-day.html)? Let us explore.

Bronze script of 不 is  while Bronze script of 木 is . Comparing the two, 不 looks like the part of a 木 (a tree) above earth has been removed. A tree chopped down contains the meaning of the tree is gone and not exists any longer.
what 不 is

Chinese ancestors used 不 to represent the meaning of nothingness, or not, or blank. For example: 不要.

That is all for 不, before enjoying our Chinese calligraphy, let us examine its evolution history first: (image taken from http://vividict.com)
Evolution history of 不

Now the calligraphy with 不 inside:
不忘初心,方得始终。


Saturday, 24 August 2019

而 is a character that is hard to guess its current meaning. It's traditional version is the same as simplified one, thus we have to check it's ancient scripts to see if we can get more clues. Below image is taken from http://vividict.com
Evolution history of 而

From it oracle script , we can see that it's upper part is mouth (), thus its lower part  looks very likely long beard. And some other Oracle Script  simplified  into . When it came to Clerical Script , it kind of finalized its form as 而.

Ancient Chinese value their long beard as one of the important characteristics of a handsome man. For example 关羽 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guan_Yu) who has a nickname as 美鬤公 , he even sometimes wear a special bag to protect his beard: Below is a Qing dynasty opera mask of Guan Yu:

Guan Yu with long beard

As  draws, man has lots of beard and it grow to a row,thus 而 can be used to represent the meaning of and.

Little beard does not look good. Lots of long beard together makes it impressive. thus 而 also has the meaning of progress further on top of the simply concatenation meaning of and. For example: 青,取之于蓝,而青于蓝

That is all for 而 today, let us enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 而 inside:
博学而不穷,笃行而不倦。

Monday, 22 July 2019

学 | 學

学 is another good example that simplified Chinese character system simplifies too much that many of the characters lost their meaningful representation those characters should have.

Looking at the traditional version , we can kind of reasoning the scene it represents: a kid (子) is playing 爻 with his both hands (), probably on a table ()?
 
You might now have a vague idea what this character is. Before revealing the answer, let us examine its ancient scripts to see if there can be more information available: (image taken from:http://vividict.com)
Evolution history of 学

From its Oracle script, 学 is drawing of 爻 ( ) on a small table 几 (). 

Another Oracle script provides more information which shows two hands () playing / holding a 爻 (), inside a house ().  

 However both  and  is still quite vague in representing the concept 学 has. Thus Bronze script  added 子 () under the house (). Now the full concept is clear: (somebody) uses two hands () to show how 爻 works to a kid () sitting inside a house (). It is a teaching process with the kid learning how 爻 works.

From these scripts above, it does emphasize the teaching part of study during the learning process during those era. when it came to Regular script era, learning process in China might have changed to focus on try-error and self learning of the kids in the class, thus Regular Script emphasized the initiative of the students during the learning process, with its two hands changed to  (which are of the kid).


That is all, 学 | 學 has the meaning of learn or study. for example 学习.

When 学 | 學 is used as noun, it is to mean knowledge or experience or capability. for example 才疏学浅.

knowledge or experience can be built up to become a knowledge system or a (research) subject. for example 数学.

We have done our study of 学, time to enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 学 inside:
学海无涯

Saturday, 29 June 2019

We have left a few unknown Chinese characters before we can fully understand the first and most important sentence of the Confucianism classic: <<论语>> - 学而时习之,不亦说乎?With a full understanding of the original meaning of each of these characters, we will have a much better comprehension of this sentence.

As the title, the character today is 爻. Its ancient scripts are pretty much the same as what we write today: (image taken from: http://vividict.com/)
Evolution history of 爻

It is pretty hard to know what it is if you do not have in-depth knowledge of Chinese culture. 爻 is the most important tools for ancient Chinese wizard to calculate or predict what to happen in the future:
Fortune Teller

爻 is composed of two 乂, which is the drawing of two sticks crossing each other. Two sticks represents Ying (阴) and Yang (阳) . 


So 爻 is the most basic element of the universe: a pair of Ying (阴) and Yang (阳). And it is also used to represent the most basic element of 八卦 / Bagua (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagua) or 易经 / I Ching (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Ching).

 That is all for 爻, now it is time to enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with it inside:
摹元羲之灵爻,仰东宿之飞景。
下沉瓶而互汲,蜚织绠而幽牵。
澄澜恬以清渟,泓冷朗己宁戾。