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Character
Unicode name CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-8C61
Code point U+8C61
Entity number 象
Unicode block CJK Unified Ideographs
[U+8C60] [U+8C62]

Translingual[edit]

Stroke order
象-bw.png

Han character[edit]

(radical 152 +5, in Chinese 11 strokes, in Japanese 12 strokes, cangjie input 弓日心人 (NAPO), four-corner 27232, composition𫩏𧰨)

References[edit]

  • KangXi: page 1195, character 21
  • Dai Kanwa Jiten: character 36372
  • Dae Jaweon: page 1658, character 1
  • Hanyu Da Zidian: volume 6, page 3611, character 9
  • Unihan data for U+8C61

Chinese[edit]

simp. and trad.
Chinese Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia zh

Cantonese Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia yue

Gan Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia gan

Glyph origin[edit]

Historical forms of the character
Oracle bone script Bronze inscriptions Large seal script Small seal script
象-oracle.svg 象-bronze.svg 象-bigseal.svg 象-seal.svg

Pictogram (象形) - pictographic representation of an elephant. represents the trunk, 𫩏 represents the head, and 𧰨 represents the body.

Etymology[edit]

This character is used to represent two semantic fields 'elephant, tusk' and 'to outline, depict, delineate, represent, resemble, 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 ."

Modern etymology studies on Old Chinese have challenged this opinion; see (xiàng) for more discussion on the etymology of the second sense.

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 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. The second viewpoint is supported by the early attestation of this character and the archaeological findings of the historical ranges of elephants.

See below for a tentative borrowing history of the various forms of this general area word.

Pronunciation[edit]


Middle Chinese pronunciation (, reconstructed)
Character (), Pronunciation 1/1

Initial: (17)
Final:
Division: III

Openness: Open
Tone: Rising (X)

Fanqie:
Zhengzhang
Shangfang
Bernard
Karlgren
Li
Rong
Pan
Wuyun
Edwin
Pulleyblank
Wang
Li
Shao
Rongfen
/zɨɐŋX/ /zi̯aŋX/ /ziaŋX/ /ziɐŋX/ /zɨaŋX/ /zĭaŋX/ /ziɑŋX/
Old Chinese pronunciation (, reconstructed)
Baxter-Sagart system 1.1 (2014)
Character Modern Beijing
(Pinyin)
Middle Chinese Old Chinese English
xiàng ‹ zjangX › /*s-[d]aŋʔ/ elephant

Notes for Old Chinese notations in the Baxter-Sagart system:

  • Parentheses "()" indicate uncertain presence;
  • Square brackets "[]" indicate uncertain identity, e.g. *[t] as coda may in fact be *-t or *-p;
  • Angle brackets "<>" indicate infix;
  • Hyphen "-" indicates morpheme boundary;
  • Period "." indicates syllable boundary.
Zhengzhang system (2003)
Character No. Phonetic
component
Rime
group
Rime
subdivision
Corresponding
MC rime
Old Chinese Notes
13664 0 /*ljaŋʔ/

Definitions[edit]

象 (1)
(Chinese Chess) 象 (3)

  1. elephant (mammal)
    • Synonym: 大象 (dàxiàng)
    • /   ―  yī tóu xiàng  ―  one elephant
  2. ivory, tusk
    • Synonym: 象牙 (xiàngyá)
    •   ―  xiàngchuáng  ―  ivory-decorated bed
  3. (Chinese chess) elephant
    • Synonym: (xiàng)
  4. symbol, emblem
  5. shape, figure
  6. appearance, phenomenon
    • /   ―  xiànxiàng  ―  phenomenon
    •   ―  jǐngxiàng  ―  scene
  7. (Chinese medicine) complexion
    •   ―  bìngxiàng  ―  disease signs and symptoms
  8. image, picture, portrait
  9. sign, indication
  10. imagination
  11. law, legislation
  12. principle
  13. calendar
  14. to imitate, to follow the example of
  15. to trace, to outline, to depict
  16. to resemble
    • 形字  ―  xiàngxíngzì  ―  pictographic character
  17. like, similar to
  18. A surname​.

Compounds[edit]

Descendants[edit]

Proto-Sino-Tibetan *glaŋ ‎(ox, bull; elephant) (?)


Japanese[edit]

Kanji[edit]

(grade 4 “Kyōiku” kanji)

Readings[edit]

Japanese Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia ja

Etymology 1[edit]

Kanji in this term
ぞう
Grade: 4
on'yomi

/zau//zɔː//zoː/

From Middle Chinese ‎(zjangX, elephant; image, resemblance). Compare modern Cantonese zoeng6.

The goon, so likely the initial borrowing.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

‎(counter , hiragana ぞう, katakana ゾウ, romaji , historical hiragana ざう)

  1. elephant
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Kanji in this term
しょう
Grade: 4
on'yomi

/sjau//sjɔː//ɕɔː//ɕoː/

From Middle Chinese ‎(zjangX, elephant; image, resemblance). Compare modern Min Nan siōng or Mandarin xiàng.

The kan'on, so likely a later borrowing.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

‎(hiragana しょう, romaji shō, historical hiragana しやう)

  1. likeness, appearance
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Kanji in this term
きさ
Grade: 4
Irregular

From Old Japanese. Cognate with ‎(kisa, wood grain), from the way that ivory also has a grain.[3]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (Irregular reading)
  • IPA(key): [kisa̠]

Noun[edit]

‎(hiragana きさ, romaji kisa)

  1. (obsolete) elephant
    • 931938, Wamyō Ruijushō, book 7, page 52:
      象 [...] 岐佐 [...] 獣名、似水牛、大耳、長鼻、眼細、牙長者也
    • 970-999, Utsubo Monogatari (Toshikage)
      それより西を行ケば、虎狼ひと山さワぐ所有り。キサ出デてその山をこしつ。

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, ISBN 4-385-13905-9
  2. ^ 1998, NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: NHK, ISBN 978-4-14-011112-3
  3. ^ 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan

Korean[edit]

Hanja[edit]

‎(sang) (hangeul , McCune-Reischauer sang, Yale sang)

  1. This entry needs a definition. Please add one, then remove {{defn}}.

Vietnamese[edit]

Han character[edit]

(tượng)

  1. This entry needs a definition. Please add one, then remove {{defn}}.