Chinese Language Learning – Peeking into the ancient Shang society via the pictograms of the oracle bone scripts

I was checking the oldest forms of some basic Chinese characters through this website ([http://chinese-characters.org/](http://chinese-characters.org/)). What I see is a patriarchal, shamanistic society that gathered to eat together from the same cauldron, gave offerings to grain gods, played music with drums, and viewed women’s submission and confinement as ideal.

I can only share 20 images in one post, so I’m just posting part of the images I saw – I find it fascinating that the modern, basic Chinese characters still secretly contain the scenes from such a distant past. What do you think?

[Woman: a kneeling person with the arms crossed in front of her body; now 女](https://preview.redd.it/sw35kfirvtr91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=37af8307476ac50f203158966f7221045d105275)

[Field: a patchwork of fields; now 田](https://preview.redd.it/ikbiv2b4wtr91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=9fce9d405fdd98fe64d4edd8d05775a8a114e808)

[Force: a hand with the arm curved to indicate muscle flexing; now 力](https://preview.redd.it/foc5l5s9wtr91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=e19aa59bd8299530b6c3670331be2f7f8ed54575)

[Man: One who uses his strength to work in the fields; now 男](https://preview.redd.it/a0klgk3ewtr91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=40eba3b4095e0add282348bb7c9f2579f0e4aa5e)

[Eat: a big cauldron/people under the roof; now 食](https://preview.redd.it/9pjhmpxpxtr91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=96e7b6fc10ddd0d66ea6f05555abcb3febc391b9)

[Dance: a person wearing something on her/his arm; now 舞](https://preview.redd.it/agtj5fwyxtr91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=001c9ab781b5866a0fee03e0aca2311189043839)

[Music/Joy: a drum made of wood; or a person holding drums; now 樂](https://preview.redd.it/dn62o12dytr91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=2f83e6611c514d9ab8dd18792cca6c7f02ea4d4e)

[Medicine: almost identical with above; can be interpreted that a shamanic ritual with music and drums was used for medicine; or maybe they just had the same pronunciation in spoken language; now 藥 ](https://preview.redd.it/2g87blviytr91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=a407bd8469b4a8ebe695db146e0cca0f78bebd50)

[Society/Organization: mouths (口) gathered to eat under the same roof; now 會](https://preview.redd.it/1lmw0axgztr91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=778b075a23df8d3df77d05c04032bc0276a40bd0)

[Water/Liquid: shows the flow; now 水](https://preview.redd.it/6q8isiarztr91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=6863b7053a0ad67794db6b0fbe04e52c8e65e5a1)

[Liquor/Wine: liquid in a wine vessel; now 酒](https://preview.redd.it/t5ngz5rxztr91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=091734d6bdc1e8cee15f41cd11b93ae2bec10bf3)

[Deity/Manifest: altar; or a spirit manifested (spirit coming to the altar); now means \”show\” 示](https://preview.redd.it/h7qhc9ih0ur91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=3ea27f1a5f150d32de63d2794e196d60fdda2a81)

[Earth/Soil: something rising from the ground; now 土](https://preview.redd.it/9g7l5lqe1ur91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=d9001ed775bcedfd32466badfca31864b4279db5)

[Society: The god (示) of the soil (土) or altars to the god – above, a society (會) was a group of people who gathered to eat together. Here, a society is (people at) a religious ritual ](https://preview.redd.it/78regd3c1ur91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=621988c987a4af5a971841f50b538e9726275bec)

[Good fortune/Good luck (fu): a wine vessel devoted to a god/spirit manifested (示). Now, 福 – the Chinese people have this character everywhere ](https://preview.redd.it/70pwg1r22ur91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=4691fc296623889cd5eef4c073dd2b1cfbe74bfc)

[Child/Son: just looks like a child; now, 子](https://preview.redd.it/rhd6swaw2ur91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=9c214aa18976f738316f18a2361c77101549a98d)

[Like/Be fond of: a child and a woman; like a woman and her child like each other; now, 好](https://preview.redd.it/b05fs9253ur91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=b104e9875bcdc9a80786f9ffc75b5d532f722fd4)

[Milk: a woman breastfeeding; now 乳](https://preview.redd.it/ne5oiall3ur91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=9b0b4df6f79b1ba6c65a668a8527d9e27417d318)

[Home/family: people in a house; now 家](https://preview.redd.it/oyamdros3ur91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=3ff8410e7e4f624aa4a5dd31e0d97132cdbc1bf3)

[Safe: a woman in the house; when a woman is in the house, all is well; 安](https://preview.redd.it/xmtly2nw3ur91.png?width=118&format=png&auto=webp&s=ea9852cf9b5eb38534f427d815ec2832b9659be1)



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6 Comments

  1. GrillOrBeGrilled December 6, 2022
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