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  • Writer's pictureianmooreplaysfiddle

'Ear' -- 耳

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

So, I know us ill-informed westerners have a tendancy to see the chinese written language as this beautiful poetic imagistic code, and I accept that I'm likely being over-simplistic and overly romantic with that viewpoint, but even so, I'd still like to share my ill-informed internet gleanings cuz I got a penchant for poetic and romantic so here goes:

Although there certainly are curved strokes in the chinese ideograms, for the most part brushwork demands that round objects be squared off and rendered with quick straight lines, thus these earlier forms of the sign for 'Ear' became the boxy little character we see in modern Chinese.

here are some early iterations:

and for comparison here is the usual character for ear (for no actually connected reason, the chinese word is 'Ěr') being used as the leftmost member of a larger compound character that means 'listen.'

I love that the stack of symbols on the right hand are, from top to bottom 'you' 'eye' and 'heart'... as if it means to say "hey you -- yeah, you with the eyes and the heart -- use your ears: listen!

I love this website, and I guess it shows:

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