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I noticed that 景 is written on the Tang-era Nestorian Stele with the "boxes" switched, ie. the 口 is above and 日 is below. Would this be a standard way to write the character during that time, or is it an intentional variation?

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    Because 景净 (zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%99%AF%E5%87%80) was the author of the Stele, could it be the practice of avoiding the use in the author's name of any character (避讳) that the calligrapher who wrote the article intentionally wrote it in the wrong way ? – Wang Zong'an Jan 22 '16 at 20:00
  • That's intriguing, I didn't know about that tradition – scry Jan 25 '16 at 20:42
  • That's my guess. I checked the Emperors' names in Tang Dynasty: no one's name has the character "景". Thus, it is not for the purpose of avoiding using the Emperors' names. But it could be to avoid the use of for example even the calligrapher's own father's name. Just my guess. : ) I think the answer by wpt may carry more sense. – Wang Zong'an Jan 25 '16 at 20:59
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This is a 隸書 form of 景. According to the references cited in the 教育部異體字字典, it occurs on steles from the Tang dynasty.

Sometimes these variations are done for ease of cutting, or because certain forms tend to break or wear away very easily; I don't know if this is the case here. Another form that also seems to appear a lot is with two 日, a 日 on top and a second one in 京 (= 日/小).

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