At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

AN EVIL CHARACTER

A friend asked me about a Chinese word which he had recently seen.
What made it slightly more confusing than it should have been -- and bear in mind, for those people who do not read Chinese, it's plenty confusing anyway -- was the calligraphic nature of the character; it had been written with flourishes.

Turns out it's a standard and fairly common character.

The heart radical underneath an eight stroke phonetic.




Evil: In the dictionary heading for ideoglyphs with 'heart' (心 'sam') as the signific, plus eight additional strokes. The little jug-like character on top (亞 'ngaa') is a phonetic element that used to mean a building of four corners, then also 'constructed obstacle, burden, road blockage', and hence 'ugly, bad, evil, mean'.

Or, in a slightly looser form, either of these two:



Just to make it even more confusing, over two thousand years ago, when the Chinese still wrote slowly and deliberately with a wick-pen on split bamboo, the forms of all characters were much different. More "pictographic, and more 'rounded'.

Such as these:

Over the centuries, writing styles varied, with tweaks of line and form that made visual sense.




From the Greater and Lesser Seal Scripts, such as the variants above, to Chancellery Script and Banner Script, along with 'short' forms of the characters, through Walking Script, Running Script, and Grass Script.

The change from an early version of a felt-tip to a bundle of flexible hairs allowed greater speed of writing, but reduced many curvilinear forms to blocks or slashes. The brush has advantages, but also limitations, and consequently the norms of recognizability necessarily shifted.

Which leads us to this striking image:


Now THAT is an evil ink blob. Neither Running Script nor Grass Script, yet nevertheless it may be called elegant. I'm actually rather tickled that it turned out so well.

Given the propensity of Caucasians to have Chinese words and phrases, no matter how goofy, inappropriate, or just plain wrong, tattooed upon their dermis -- often in prominent places where it makes one ask what the devil they were thinking -- it will NOT surprise me if that last version ends up on a glowing white rump.

In fact, anyone who wishes to do that is welcome to it.
Go ahead; knock yourselves out.
Tramp stamp.



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