Recently after looking up the glyph origin of 丸 (wán; small round object; pellet, pill), I've noticed something when I looked up this character on 小學堂. enter image description here Apparently this character existed during the time when bronze script was being used. However though the strange part of this is that this form was listed under 丸 for some reason. I've already clicked on the form and checked it but it appeared that there was no specific character attached to it, meaning that it's probably unknown for now.

From looking at the depiction of this bronze script character, it seems to depict two people catching balls or somewhere like that. Not sure if this ancient form is supposedly the original form for some character I'm unaware of or if this character was specifically created for this era.

For one things for sure, I know that this is supposedly related to 丸 but I'm really not sure if this character is related to 丸. If anyone can, I think I would appreciate it very much if anyone can help identify what character this bronze inscription is supposed to be! :)

P.S., I've also looked up it's appearance on bronze inscription and this is what I've found (circled is the character I'm trying to figure out what it is): enter image description here

2 Answers 2


That is a Shāng bronze inscription sample, which is generally known to have the characteristic of elaborate iconography to emphasise clan names or icons.

Trying to "pronounce" this or give it a regular script character transcription may be difficult if there is a lack of evidence. Both 「丸」 and 「丮」 have been used as transcriptions for the right half of the character, and some paleography authors may only bother using one half if the character is made up of two parts which are mirror images of each other.

I don't know where 「丸」 came from, but I would personally not go for it as a transcription, since 「丸」 itself lacks paleographic evidence of similar shapes to the character in question around the Shāng era. 「丮」 is slightly more convincing, and note that 「丸」 is a regular script corruption of what may be written as 「丮」 in small seal script (see e.g. 「執」). You may see a full transcription of that character as


and one possible reading of the entire inscription is


Royal house (「亞」) of 「向」, lower house of 「⿰𠨭丮」, (this vessel is cast) for commemoration of father (「父」) on the 5th day (「戊」).

If you're interested, have a look at 小學堂族徽, where you can find some truly entertaining inscriptions which are impossible to transcribe:



Further reading:

  • 3
    omg 🙀 you’ve ample times to compose that answer in history.se 😹 Aug 30, 2023 at 9:35
  • Honestly it's kind of entertaining to look at some unknown bronze script characters since I just generally like how the characters are written at that time period. Especially the time when it seems like characters to do with people (e.g. 重, 伐, 旅) are drawn more exaggerating with a full circle head and sometimes feet. :)
    – prismcool
    Aug 30, 2023 at 10:41

the 殷周金文集成 9010, my reading is:

the character “向” is inside the character “亞” (the character above the red circle)

then, below the red circle, the characters “父” & “戊” are recognised

the red circled character is not yet identified.

why 小學堂 linked this unidentified character to “丸”, well, . . . could we ask them to explain? 😸

  • That's what I'm probably thinking to do, unless if there's a reasonable connection between the depiction of two people playing catch (or giving each other some objects?), I'm still searching in if this ancient character is related to 丸 or if this character was exclusively made for the bronze script era.
    – prismcool
    Aug 30, 2023 at 3:57

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