5

The 4 elements of this character are well known (claw/plectrum; net; north-east; short measurement), but I cannot see any connection between them that might result in the concept of 'baron'. Can anyone shed some light on this mystery?

  • If you want a Japanese-flavoured answer, you should ask this on Japanese StackExchange. – droooze Jul 25 at 9:26
11

The 4 elements of this kanji are well known (claw/plectrum; net; north-east; short measurement)

Unfortunately, this way of interpreting Chinese character components is not correct. As part of other characters, for the vast majority of the time, character components represent either meaning or sound of the word they originally were created for.

Not that any of this matters for this particular character, because every component you've listed (apart from arguably「寸」) is a result of graphical corruption.


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enter image description here
4508
合集22067


enter image description here
5.5.2
合集3409
西周

enter image description here
爵父癸卣蓋
集成4988

「爵」was originally a picture of an alcohol vessel. As seen in the top two illustrations, the vessel was of various shapes, sometimes with three legs, sometimes with a few columns near the top, and sometimes with a long handle. This is reflected in the character shape variations.

西周

enter image description here
伯公父勺
集成9935


enter image description here
秦律雜抄37
睡虎地秦簡


enter image description here

 

Keeping the columns and the handle,

  • The body and legs of the character were later semantically corrupted into or replaced with「鬯」, then corrupted into「皀」and finally abbreviated into「艮」.
  • The handle was later replaced with「又」, then「寸」.
  • The columns near the top were corrupted into「爪・爫」.
  • The area near the mouth of the vessel was corrupted into「罒」.

「鬯」depicts another kind of wine vessel.



enter image description here
京都1264
合集23127
西周

enter image description here
夨令方彝
集成9901


enter image description here
鬯部
說文解字


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The meaning to do with feudal title of an official ("baron") is either a phonetic loan or semantic extension (wine ceremonies were usually conducted by people who can afford them, most commonly officials).


References:

  • 1
    I didn't expect to receive such a thorough clarification so quickly. 艮 is given as 'north-east' in a wiki on chinese kangxi. I am familiar with 鬯 which appears in the Japanese kanji for 'depression, gloom'. I will look through the links you have given and get back if I find anything of real interest. Thank you. – murlin Jul 25 at 10:55
  • 1
    @murlin Best of luck in your character studies. – droooze Jul 25 at 10:59
  • 1
    艮 as northeast comes from the 八卦 – Michaelyus Jul 29 at 16:58
  • @Michaelyus ahh! In that case it would be mixing up two unrelated characters. – droooze Jul 29 at 20:32

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