2

Having a hard time figuring out what this guy is:

hahaha

The equivalent Wikisource page for the material I'm working with says that it is:

Perhaps it is

yes?

Which zisea says it is:

同【甚】字。

If it is 七 + 丶 + 丶, where did this character come from?

(It's a pain to search, the character isn't even encoded into Unicode)

Was it shorthand or did it have another history?

  • There are a lot of characters like that, just a variation, 异体字. – Jacob Jan 15 '18 at 10:46
3

The character enter image description here is recorded in the following titles:

  • 《漢簡文字類編.甘部》
  • 《中華字海.一部》

The paleographer 季旭昇 analyses it to be a 草書 variant of「甚」.

See the entry of 甚 from the Taiwan Ministry of Education's variants dictionary.


The earliest form of「甚」compounds「匕」(a ladle or spoon) with either「甘」or「口」:

enter image description here

Note: the difference between「甘」and「口」in this context doesn't make a big difference, as「甘」(sweet) was originally「口」with a mark, representing a piece of food in a mouth:

enter image description here

The meaning of sweet/good flavours is extracted from the idea of tasting the food.

The entire compound form of「甚」meant contentment, happiness, at peace, as a result of being satisfied from being fed.

Later on, decorative marks (飾筆)** were added on to the character, in the shape of「八」:

enter image description here

Since characters weren't standardised back then, sometimes「口」and「八」were switched around:

enter image description here

This last form is the direct ancestor of the modern form of「甚」.

Note: The Shuowen Jiezi explanation of「甚」comes from the misinterpretation of 「八」and「匕」as merging into「匹」:

「甚,尤安樂也。从甘,从匹耦也。」

Of course, the above doesn't explain the cursive form that appears in the question. My personal speculation is that enter image description here is a result of (1) character corruption (訛變) and (2) character simplification (簡化/省略).

(1) Corruption

「匕」was commonly corrupted into「七」or「𠤎」very early on, as in the Eastern Han stele 《曹全碑》:

enter image description here

What looks like「合首藥神明膏」should be interpreted as「合首藥神明膏」(miraculous knife-wound-healing medicine), where「匕首」means dagger. Many modern forms have retained this corruption, such as in the character「化」, which was originally「⿰亻匕」. See, for example, the modern Chinese (left) form vs. the modern Japanese (right) form of 「化」:

enter image description hereenter image description here

(2) Simplification

「口」was simply omitted from the final form in rapid 草書 writing.

Of course, take all this with a grain of salt; I haven't found a detailed academic commentary on the character enter image description here, and welcome any corrections to this answer by anyone who has.


**The addition of decorative marks is one of the least-known, at least among general knowledge, of Chinese character components. One of the most common characters which was formed as a result of decorative marks is the character「魚」. Compare, for example, some of the earliest forms of the character:

  1. A detailed drawing of a fish in oracle bone script:
    enter image description here
  2. Still quite detailed in the middle of the bronze inscription period:
    enter image description here
  3. Sometimes, not so detailed and more stylised:
    enter image description here
  4. Stylised with addition of decorative marks around the tail:
    enter image description here

The shape of the bottom looked very similar to and was later merged with the shape of「火」, eventually turning into「灬」and causing the tail to be detached to the rest of the body. This latter form can be considered as the direct ancestor of the modern form of「魚」: enter image description here

If these marks weren't added, we might see something like this today:

enter image description here

  • Please don't use links with generic names such as "this" or "here, because if the site goes offline or the link breaks, then it will become useless. Add some context from the link so that even if something goes wrong, other users can have some context. – Alenanno Jan 16 '18 at 16:00
  • @Alenanno I've actually summarised all the information that was relevant to the question. There wasn't much information on the page, but I'll edit the answer to include the organisation's name. – droooze Jan 16 '18 at 16:16
  • Thank you. Mine was general advice, you know how to give proper context since it's your answer, but this way a future visitor might find the answer even if the link breaks. :) – Alenanno Jan 16 '18 at 16:22
0

I think it could be the character 正. 行书或草书的就这么写。better you have a context to figure out. Otherwise, it is very hard. It might also be like Japanese.

It could also be 甚 as you said.

enter image description here

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