I'm a Vietnamese preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year and have found this piece of decoration. I think the Chinese character on that is a Traditional one, pretty calligraphic and notably containing the 龸 part (I guess). I've tried looking up this character in our most reliable Han dictionary (from Traditional Chinese characters to Vietnamese), but failed. Moreover, I've searched it on the LINE dictionary (Chinese to English), and the best result I've got is 常.

Now I'm here to seek help. What is this character? Thanks in advance.


  • 1
    Yop, that is 常, neither traditional nor simplifed but rather just Chinese.
    – user4452
    Feb 7, 2016 at 11:06
  • 2
    or, rather, both traditional and simplified
    – Colin
    Feb 8, 2016 at 2:58

1 Answer 1


What you posted is (pinyin: chang2).

It means always or often, and with New Year decorations, can appear in combination for example in well-wishing phrases about happiness, fortunes, health, etc.

Recognition might be difficult because this is not the regular script typically seen in print text, but is instead written in semi-cursive script, also known as running script (pinyin: xing2 shu, t: 行書, s: 行书, Vietnamese: Hành thư)

  • The bottom part of 常 is composed of 口 (mouth, pinyin: kou3) and 巾 (pinyin: jin), and normally these shapes are clearly discernible when looking at the regular script version
  • but in your posted example it is condensed: the box-like 口 is reduced to a mere triangle and merged with the 巾
  • the top half's strokes are still recognizable though, not drastically altered compared to regular script
  • it shows condensed strokes typical of cursive script, yet has not been completely condensed, so it should be semi-cursive not cursive

Another example, listed as semi-cursive:

Chang, semi-cursive
(source: supfree.net)

  • notice the similar condensed shapes and strokes at the bottom

Source: http://shufa.supfree.net/raky.asp?zi=%B3%A3

As for the Simplified vs. Traditional aspect, not every Traditional Chinese character has been changed to make Simplified Chinese, for example: character for the number one 一 (pinyin: yi). 常 is also an example of a character that the authors of Simplified Chinese did not simplify, so under Simplified Chinese it remains unchanged from Traditional Chinese.

Hope this helped,

Happy Lunar New Year!

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