Monday, 28 January 2019

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 尹

Before studying our next character related to 羊, we shall detour to examine some other Chinese characters first to prepare ourselves. The character today is 尹. What does it mean?

尹 can be dissembled to  and丿. We already know that is drawing of a hand when we study 尽 | 盡 at

What does 丿represents? not very clear, let us check whether any help we can get from its ancient scripts: (image taken from
evolution history of 尹
 It is now obvious from its Bronze script  and Seal script  that 尹 is the drawing of "a hand  holding a ". What does  looks like? a staff or more precisely a scepter.

Starting from Clerical script   transformed into .

We have gotten he original representation of 尹: (someone) holding a scepter as a symbol of sovereignty or authority. 尹 is then used to mean the person with sovereignty or authority, like officers. For example an officer title 令尹.

It was a common practice for Chinese ancestors to adopt their official title as their new family name. And 尹 eventually became one of the popular 100 Chinese family names.

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

Monday, 14 January 2019

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 羔

Our character today is related to 羊, with four dots ( 灬 ) drawn beneath it: 羔.

You might already know that Radicalmeans 火 which we have learnt. Does it mean that 羔 represents "roasted whole lamb"?

You know we Chinese like to enjoy all types of foods. With so many varieties, it is impossible for our ancestors to dedicate each dish a Chinese character. So what is "putting a sheep / goat above fire"?

After cultivation by human beings, sheep tends to born lambs during winter or spring when the weather is very cold, as explained by following urls: or

The situation is the same in ancient China. To increase the survival rate of lambs, Chinese ancestors would use small fire to help new born lambs to get rid of the amniotic fluid. This is special for lambs and Chinese ancestors created 羔 to mean lambs.

Let us see whether ancient scripts would give more hints or ideas otherwise. (image taken from:
evolution history of 羔
We can see that one of it Oracle script  is composed of 羊 () and probably amniotic fluid (). And another Oracle script  is composed of 羊 () and fire ().

Since Bronze script, 羔 followed the idea of  to represent its meaning clearly.

羔 means lamb or young goat.
And 羔 is extended to mean cub or calf of any animal or even human as well.

Now it is time to enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 羔 inside :