Monday, 27 February 2017

气 | qì

In Mandarin Chinese, (Pinyin: 🔊) means “air”, “gas”, “breath” and things of that nature. In traditional Chinese culture, is an active principle contained in any living thing.

Both and Shinjitai kanji are simplified forms of the traditional character . Uncle Hanzi says that it is a cloud over (presumably just cooked) rice , “meaning steam from food”. Could it have been a depiction of a person blowing on hot rice? Ponte Ryūrui points out that

the ancient is not the same character as modern simplified Chinese . The former is a pictograph of a breath in the form of vapour, as observed on a cold day, whereas the latter is a simplification of .
In any case, since the symbol for rice could be either present or absent from the character, I’d suggest we forget about rice for now and simply try to remember that is about blowing.

More photos of sea glass @ Shutterstock.

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