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Kijoli

Short term for "Mandate of Heaven"

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Kijoli

Hello!

 

I have a specific question: I read that the term "Mandate of Heaven" in Classical Chinese is called tian mìng (天命), literally "Heaven's will":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandate_of_Heaven#History

 

But I also read that the word mìng in itself does not mean "will" or "mandate", at least not according to this site:

http://www.chinese-word.com/data/0599.html

 

What I wonder is, would it be possible to refer to "the mandate" in a shorter way, by writing just 命 (mìng), or is the meaning completely dependent on that both signs are put together? I need to create an abstract symbol of the mandate of heaven, and the symbol should be as round as possible.

 

Thanks,

Kim

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889

You don't tell us the context, but that character standing alone doesn't carry such great vibes. In essence, it brings to mind being told what to do.

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Kijoli

Here on the centre left is the context - a board illustrating a lot of historical ideas and institutions. The name "Mandate of Heaven" is there as a header - in this case I picked just the sign 命 as a symbol of the mandate of heaven. That symbol will also appear alone in other places in the game, without an English header. Would it be better to use both signs (天命) as a symbol? Or could it even work to use only the symbol 天 tien? Most of my players will not know Chinese but I still do not want to use these signs incorrectly!

Group 36.png

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889

Between the two, 天 tian certainly fits better. It has various meanings, but here would mean "heaven" and it has a positive connotation.

 

I suppose you could also consider using emperor, the recipient of heaven's mandate. For that, you could consider 王 wang or 帝 di.

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889

By the way, I know nothing of Japanese law or culture, but it wouldn't surprise me if using the Japanese Imperial Seal for something like this turns out not to be kosher in some respect.

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Lu
On 9/26/2020 at 11:09 PM, Kijoli said:

Here on the centre left is the context - a board illustrating a lot of historical ideas and institutions.

You could consider using a picture of a five-clawed dragon instead, seems more in the same style as the other icons/logos.

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889

I like the idea of a dragon, too.

 

But note there are a lot of references on the web mentioning a taboo on disfiguring a dragon: dragons deserve respect! So the use of the token in your game should be consistent with that.

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Demonic_Duck

I think the biggest taboo you're in danger of breaking is if that Arabic text turns out to be the shahada or something.

 

I actually think 命 decently reflects what you're going for. To my mind at least, the first meaning that springs to mind with the single character is 命运 (fate/destiny), which is kinda similar to 天命. I assume that's not the final icon design and you'd use a calligraphic version instead, though. It looks super out of place there with just a sans-serif character on a white background.

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Kijoli

Thanks for all your input, and yes, the design is certainly going to be changed! The images are going to be more abstract, cleaner and simpler in the future, and I think that 天 is actually going to fit in nicely there, with calligraphy and a nicer background.

 

Thanks for pointing out the issue of cultural sensitivities here, I am going to use a simple moon and crescent for the Caliphate symbol actually, but I had not thought much about the Japanese symbol. I had forgotten that this is actually THE imperial seal of Japan that I am borrowing, so yeah, might want to change that too!

 

The idea of a dragon is interesting, but the symbols are in some places in the game going to be a mere 12mm in diameter, so it is probably out of the question.

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