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214 radicals - "Chinese Calligraphy", my favorite hanzi book

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My all-time-most-favoritest-book-in-the-world. :clap

Here's the info if you want to look it up somewhere:

CHINESE CALLIGRAPHY From Pictograph to Ideogram: The History of 214 Essential Chinese/Japanese Characters (pant, pant, pant... long name, I know)

ISBN: 0-7892-0870-9

(paperback US$24.95; there is also a hardcover)

Abbeville Press NY,NY



Available wherever fine books are sold ... heehee, oh, sorry... :lol: (That's what it says there!)

Anyway, no I'm not the author or a salesman for it, I just LOVE it, that's all! As you can see from the sample page (because I'm on a camera kick lately) it has everything, from cave wall to modern use, with explanations of its history whenever known, and helpful pictures or descriptions to help you remember why they look that way.

Also, the beginning has about 15 chock-full pages about the history of hanzi and shufa 书法 (calligraphy), such as samples of the different kinds of scripts (seal script, running script, caoshu, etc...). The radical portion of the book is laid out in the order of the KangXi cidian; KangXi was an emperor who organized the language into the 214 radicals and created a dictionary. However, it was not in stroke order, it was in a wonderfully intuitive order of ... uh... well, it's intuitive so I can't explain it. Ok, I'll try. One chapter has all body radicals together, like mouth, eye, hair, ear, face, hand, foot, etc. Other categories might be... ok, fine, I'll write them from the contents:

- Man

- Body

- To journey (movement & a lot of verbs)

- Village (geography words; 山,土,田, roof, city, etc)

- Paintbrush (useful objects)

- Dragon (animals & their parts)

- Jade (elements, nature)

- Yellow (colors, numbers, sounds, adjectives)

To be honest, I love this way of ordering things, and I'd love to have a KangXi Cidian, just for fun.

I swore at the beginnings of my studies I'd memorize all 214, but... well we all know how that goes. I've at least looked at them, but I meant like, recite them and write them from memory. Nope. But it's been a very helpful book for helping me *thoroughly* understand hanzi. When I completely understand one, I remember it.

Ok, here are two samples:



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That looks great!

I started to learn Japanese before Chinese and I have a book about Kanji with a similar concept: Kanji Pict·O·Graphix - Over 1,000 Japanese Kanji and Kana Mnemonics (quite a long title too) by Michael Rowle, ISBN 978-0-9628137-0-2.

Sorry can't picture it here, I'm out of camera at the moment!

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