2

Left screenshot is from Yellowbridge; right from Richard Sears (Uncle Hanzi).

enter image description here

I circled in green the lone pictogram that most obviously pictures a hand holding a carpenter's square.

  1. For productivity, I colored in red a semicircle in merely 3 of the pictograms, but this semicircle figures in the other pictogram. Are these semicircles intended to symbolize the human hand?

  2. I still can't picture how these pictograms evolved to 巨.

7

The forms you're looking at are actually the ancestors of「矩」.「巨」was formed by cutting off the person.


The analysis starts from this form

西周

enter image description here
伯矩盉蓋
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which depicts a person「大」holding a tool「工」.

Carpenter's square is much too specific, and I would think that it is an over-interpretation.

  • Exaggerate the person's hand to emphasise that the tool was held:

    西周

    enter image description here
    伯矩卣
    集成5228

  • Swap out「大」with the similar-meaning「夫」(man), and permanently detach part of the hand onto the tool:

    西周

    enter image description here
    裘衛盉
    集成9456

The left hand side of the above character should now heavily resemble「巨」, which is created from omitting「大」or「夫」.



enter image description here
5
 


enter image description here
工部
說文解字


enter image description here

 

「夫」was later semantically corrupted into「矢」(arrow > length, measurement), forming「矩」.

東漢

enter image description here
桐柏廟碑
 


enter image description here

 


References:

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