Monday, 8 April 2019

Learn one Chinese Character a day - 解

Our character today 解 is a quite complicated one related to 角 we just learnt, which can be dissected into 3 components that we know: 角 (horn), 刀 (knife) and 牛 (buffalo). What is the aggregated meaning of the combination: 解? Does it mean to use knife to cut the horn off the buffalo?

Let us see if any help we can get from its ancient scripts: (image taken from
Evolution history of 解
Its Oracle script is the drawing of two hands () taking away the horn () of a buffalo (). When it comes to Seal script ,  two hands () is replaced by a knife () to represent the idea clearer. which is indeed to cut the horn off the buffalo. this is 解's original meaning. For example 庖丁解牛.

Based on its original meaning, 解 is extended to mean dissect, break up or cut up. For example 解剖.

Since 解 contains the meaning of "to divide and separate parts of a buffalo", 解 is also used to mean untie. 解开.

Once the buffalo is finally dissected, it means the task is accomplished, 解 thus has meaning of resolve. for example 解决.

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


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