This was passed around through emails a long time ago, and it still amazes me…
- Greed 婪 portrays a woman standing in front of some trees.
- Forbidden 禁 is a hand reaching for a tree, with a line blocking the hand in the middle.
- The ancient character for No/Not 弗 depicts a snake on a tree!
- Trouble & Difficulty 困 is a garden enclosure (big square) with a tree in the middle (Eden).
- Ship 船 is a boat with a family of eight (舟 + 八口). Noah had Chinese relatives?
- Father 父, Word 言and Lamb 羊 were originally extremely similar characters in structure and appearance.
- Blessing 祥 literally denotes a lamb from God (神 + 羊).
- Shame 羞 is a human hand laying on a lamb, just as the Hebrew practice of putting a hand on a lamb as a symbol of laying down a man’s sin. Visually, the character can also be interpreted as a lamb covering the hand with its own body.
- The adjective eternal 永 depicts running water.
- The ancient character for Shepherd (we don’t use it anymore) illustrates a man kneeling before a lamb. This is a very interesting concept of what a shepherd should be. Here the character indirectly implies the shepherd is the lamb.
- Kindness 善 is word from the lamb (originally the bottom part was the character for Word 言).
- Righteousness 義 originally depicted a lamb reaching/lancing for me (‘me’ below ‘lamb’, 我 below 羊; the reaching part is missing in the modern version). The character uses the specific symbol for me 我 instead of the common symbol for man 人, emphasizing a personal divine touch.
- Beautiful 美 is a big lamb (‘big below ‘lamb’, 我 below 羊). Yet in ancient times, the ‘big’ part actually stood for a noble human. Lamb + noble human = Beautiful?
- Male 男 is a field 田 plus toil 力. After Adam sinned, God said to him, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life” Genesis 3:17.
Hmmm…there is indeed a mysterious connection with Christian theology.