|Stroke order in simplified Chinese|
- In traditional Chinese, Japanese kanji and Korean hanja, the middle component of 象 is written 𫩏 followed by 𧰨.
- In simplified Chinese and Vietnamese Nôm, the middle component of 象 is written 口 overlapped by a downward ㇓ slash and is one stroke less compared to the traditional form.
象 (radical 152, 豕+5 in traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean, 豕+4 in simplified Chinese, 12 strokes in traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean, 11 strokes in simplified Chinese, cangjie input 弓日心人 (NAPO), four-corner 27232, composition ⿱⺈⿻口𧰨(GV) or ⿳⺈𫩏𧰨(HT) or ⿸⿳⺈𫩏⿹⿱丿㇁⿱丿丿⿺乀丿(JK))
- KangXi: page 1195, character 21
- Dai Kanwa Jiten: character 36372
- Dae Jaweon: page 1658, character 1
- Hanyu Da Zidian (first edition): volume 6, page 3611, character 9
- Unihan data for U+8C61
|simp. and trad.
|Historical forms of the character 象|
|Shang||Western Zhou||Shuowen Jiezi (compiled in Han)||Liushutong (compiled in Ming)|
|Oracle bone script||Bronze inscriptions||Small seal script||Transcribed ancient scripts|
This character is used to represent two semantic fields ‘elephant; tusk’ and ‘to outline; to depict; to delineate; to represent; to resemble; to map’. Both fields are found from the earliest layers of the edited literature onwards, whereas only the first meaning is amply attested in oracle bone inscriptions.
Traditionally, the two senses are treated as related, with the sense of ‘to depict; to resemble’ considered a derivative of the sense of ‘elephant’. The derivation from the ‘elephant’ meaning to the ‘likeness’ meaning is explained in Han Feizi [ca. 221 BCE]: “Men rarely see living elephants. As they come by the skeleton of a dead elephant, they imagine its living form according to its features. Therefore it comes to pass that whatever people use for imagining the real is called 象.”
Modern etymology studies on Old Chinese have challenged this opinion.
As for the ‘elephant; tusk’ sense, this is a widely used area word in East and Southeast Asia. Literature opinions differ on the origin and immediate relationship of this Chinese word; some (e.g. Schuessler, 2007) believe the Chinese form is a loanword from a Southern language, since “it is hard to believe that people all over SE Asia and as far away as the Himalayan foothills would borrow a word for an indigenous animal from Northern China”. Others believe the direction of borrowing is reversed (i.e. Tai-Kadai borrowing from Chinese), and that Chinese 象 should be compared with Tibetan གླང (glang), གླང་ཆེན (glang chen, “elephant”) arising from a common Proto-Sino-Tibetan *glaŋ (“ox, bull; elephant”), which may ultimately have an Austroasiatic origin (Behr, 2004). The second viewpoint is supported by the early attestation of this character and the archaeological findings of the historical ranges of elephants. However, Schuessler disputes that second viewpoint and links ST *glaŋ to Mandarin 犅 (gāng) "ox, bull".
See below for a tentative borrowing history of the various forms of this general area word.
- elephant (Classifier: 頭／头 )
- ivory; tusk
- (xiangqi) elephant (on the black side)
- symbol; emblem
- shape; figure
- appearance; phenomenon
- (traditional Chinese medicine) complexion
- 病象 ― bìngxiàng ― disease signs and symptoms
- image; picture; portrait
- ⇒ 像
- sign; indication
- law; legislation
- to imitate; to follow the example of
- to trace; to outline; to depict
- to resemble
- like; similar to
- ⇒ 像
- A surname.
- (historical) Synonym of , a vague designation for "southern barbarians"
- (historical) (～君) Xiang, a commandery of Han China
- → Kalmyk: зан (zan)
- → Mongolian: заан (zaan)
- → Tai: *ɟaːŋᶜ (“elephant”)
- → Vietic: *ʔa-ɟaːŋ (“elephant”)
|For pronunciation and definitions of 象 – see 像 (“picture; image; figure; statue; figure; sculpture; etc.”).|
(This character, 象, is the former (1964-1986) first-round simplified form of 像.)
- 象 was the official simplified form of 像 only until 1986.
- “Entry #9059”, in 臺灣閩南語常用詞辭典 [Dictionary of Frequently-Used Taiwan Minnan] (in Chinese and Min Nan), Ministry of Education, R.O.C., 2011.
- Go-on: ぞう (zō, Jōyō)←ざう (zau, historical)
- Kan-on: しょう (shō, Jōyō)←しやう (syau, historical)
- Kun: かたち (katachi, 象); かたどる (katadoru, 象る); のり (nori, 象)
- Nanori: かた (kata); きさ (kisa); たか (taka)
|Kanji in this term|
/zau/ → /zɔː/ → /zoː/
The goon reading, so likely the initial borrowing.
|Kanji in this term|
/sjau/ → /sjɔː/ → /ɕɔː/ → /ɕoː/
The kan'on reading, so likely a later borrowing.
|Kanji in this term|
- (obsolete) elephant
- Kōno, Tama (c. 970–999) Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei 10: Utsubo Monogatari 1 (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Iwanami Shoten, published 1959, →ISBN.
- Minamoto, Shitagō; Kyōto Daigaku Bungakubu Kokugogaku Kokubungaku Kenkyūshitu (931–938) Shohon Shūsei Wamyō Ruijushō: Honbunhen (in Japanese), Kyōto: Rinsen, published 1968, →ISBN.
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