Pictographic: hillock

“丘”( qiū, hillock) is an associated compound as well as a self-explanatory character. In oracle bone inspection, it looks like two hillocks standing parallel on the ground. Hence the character means natural mounds. In the small seal script, the two hillocks are higher than in oracle bone inscription. In the standard script, the character is […]

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Pictographic: step

步bù,is comprised of two feet. In the oracle bones, the upper part is a left foot with the toe pointing upwords and the lower part is a right foot with the big toe also pointing. But in the another direction. Two feet moving forwards one after another one after amoche graphics “walking forwards”. Which is […]

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Pictographic: both

The original form of the character 双 was a cpmlex one, the upper part depicts two “birds”  with their beaks turned to the left, sitting on a “right hand”. This combination indicates one hand catching two birds, which suggests the concept of “a pair”.

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Pictographic: old

The oracle bones picture the character as an old man facing the left, with a lunched back, and a stick in his hand. Other characters relating to “old” or “elders”which are derived from his character include (孝xiào: filial piety) and (长zhǎng: elder).

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Pictographic: man

The original character of 男 nán was a combination of two parts: the left side is a field(田tián), and the right side is a plough – like tool. As ploughing in field was men’s main work in ancient times, the original meaning of “男nán”is “the strength in the field” or “man”.

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