|Let us take for example the idiom
sanyang kaitai "
". Tai is a divination symbol, and according to the Tuan article in
the Yijing "
": "The heaven symbol (qian) is above, and the earth symbol (kun)
is below. [When] the heaven and earth exchange, all things communicate."
When we see tai, it is always of great prosperity and fortune. If we see
tai when we look for fortune, it means the way to prosperity is straight.
If we see tai when we look for marriage, it means the way to love is open.
(But in effect does fortune come? Does love last? I do not know.)
How about sanyang "three suns"? [It is] stated in the xu divinity
symbol, "when three people come, it is the end-fortune of respect"
and [it is said that] "the one moon is the lord over three suns,"
Thus according to the Chinese character, it should be sanyang,"
", But it is more monotonous [to depict it] as three suns, so I use
the Chinese homonym method and depicted sanyang (""
: three suns) as sanyang (""
: three lambs). The primitive characters were developed mostly from pictographs,
and each pictograph is lively and vivid, so I decided to depict [the pictographs]
of three lambs. The word "lamb" possesses many forms in Oracle-Bone
Script, of which each character is beautiful. I selected quite a number
of them, including those with rounded eyes, and furry moustaches.. . . .
But because sanyang "three suns" only required sanyang "three
lambs", I had to forsake some of them and settle with three, which
are all cursive and dotted, [where the dots are the 'eyes' in the pictures].
The horn of the 'lamb' was even conjugated to give certain spiral effects.
Further critique showed that the composition of 'three lambs' alone [still]
Iooked rather monotonous, so l added a few characters that represent the
[original meaning of the] sun, enhancing the word with the meaning of sunrise,
followed by a few [additional] strokes that represented the 'sunward face'.
All these [are executed] in red ink, to add to the variety.
Finally, to increase a sense of connection [between the individual characters],
a ren (" "
: man) is added (ren is written as bu " "
in Oracle-Bone Script, and can be added either on the left or right). In
the first place, "lamb" in Oracle-Bone Script contains the character
xi " ",
and this in turn symbolism a shepherd, The characters as a whole thus symbolise
a shepherd walking three lambs under the sun, enjoying the sunny brilliance,
which translates into the meaning of "transcend". I feared that
the common reader may not understand the meaning behind such primitive characters,
hence I footnoted it with the words sanyang kaitai (""),
below which there was another footnote that read, "The work was completed
mid-autumn in the year xinyou.