Chinese characters of Empress Wu


Chinese characters of Empress Wu
Chinese characters
Chinese characters logo.jpg
Scripts
Precursors · Oracle bone script · Bronze script · Seal script (large, small) · Clerical script · Cursive script · Regular script · Semi-cursive script
Type styles
Imitation Song · Ming · Sans-serif
Properties
Strokes · Stroke order · Radicals · Classification · Section headers
Variants
Standards on character forms
Kangxi Dictionary form
Xin Zixing
Standard Form of National Characters
List of Forms of Frequently Used Characters
Standards on grapheme usage
Graphemic variants · Hanyu Tongyong Zi · Hanyu Changyong Zi · Tōyō kanji · Jōyō kanji
Reforms
Chinese (trad. · simp. · simp.2 · debate)
Japanese (old · new · Ryakuji)
Korea (Yakja) · Singapore (jiăntǐzì biǎo)
Sinoxenic usage
Kanji · Hanja · Hán tự
Homographs
Literary and colloquial readings
Derivatives
Kokuji · Korean hanja · Chữ Nôm · Zetian characters · Nü Shu · Idu · Kana (Man'yōgana) · Bopomofo · Sawndip · Khitan large script · Khitan small script · Jurchen · Tangut
v · d · e

Chinese characters of Empress Wu, or the Zetian characters (則天文字), are Chinese characters introduced by Empress Wu Zetian, the only reigning female in the history of China, to demonstrate her power. The characters were not created by the Empress herself, but were suggested by an official named Zong Qinke, the son of one of her cousins, in December 689. The number of these characters is controversial, but various sources say 12, 17, 19, or 30 characters, et cetera. They were forcibly used by people during her reign but fell into disuse immediately after her death, so they help to determine dates of printed materials.

A few of the surviving characters are preserved in the written histories of Wu Zetian, and a few have found themselves incorporated into modern-day computer standards, classified as either variant or dialect-specific characters.

The form of the characters varies depending on where they are printed. For instance Empress Wu's own name zhào 照 was replaced with 瞾, but is erroneously thought to be 曌, and looking in the Kangxi Dictionary, one finds the description of the former having two 目 ("eye") characters being the proper character rather than the word míng 明 meaning "bright". Another form replaces the 明 above 空 with two 日 characters.

Contents

History

Wu was China's only female emperor, and she exercised her power by introducing many reforms. In addition to changing the way people dressed, she wanted to change the words people used.

Empress Wu's written reforms resulted in new characters, which were not created from scratch, but borrowed elements of older characters.

When the Wu dynasty ended, the original words were recovered because people eventually forgot how to write the characters themselves. Some of the characters ended up being preserved in other countries.

Anecdotes about the reign of the Empress Wu can be read in The Book of the Tang.

Example Characters

Original Character New Character Large Version Unicode Explanation of meaning
Zetian character 照 U+66CC The empress's name, “” is here composed of the radicals “日月当空”. The moon and sun symbolize a harmony of yin and yang.
Zetian variant of above character U+77BE The way the first character is sometimes erroneously written.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Empress Dowager Ci'an — 孝贞显皇后(慈安太后) Regent of the Qing Dynasty Regency 11 November 1861 – 8 April 1881 ( 1 …   Wikipedia

  • Empress Dowager Cixi — 慈禧太后 Regent of the Qing Dynasty Regency 11 November 1861 – 15 November 1908 ( 1000000000000004700000047 years, 100000000000000040000004 days …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese compound surname — A Chinese compound surname is a Chinese surname using more than one character. Many of these surnames derive from noble and official titles, professions, place names and other areas, to serve for a purpose. Some are originally non Han, while… …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese sovereign — History of China ANCIENT …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese nobility — Chinese sovereignty and peerage,[1] the nobility of China, were an important feature of traditional social and political organization of Imperial China. While the concepts of hereditary sovereign and peerage titles and noble families were… …   Wikipedia

  • Empress Wang (Xuanzong) — Empress Wang (王皇后, personal name unknown) (d. 724), was an empress of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty. Her husband was Emperor Xuanzong. She was initially made empress after he became emperor in 712, but eventually lost favor to Consort Wu,… …   Wikipedia

  • Empress He Jingying — (何婧英) was an empress of the Chinese dynasty Southern Qi. Her husband was Xiao Zhaoye, who is commonly known by his posthumously demoted title of Prince of Yulin.He Jingying s father He Ji (何戢) was a high level official during the reigns of Xiao… …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese coins — Ancient Chinese coins were produced continuously for around 2,500 years by casting in moulds, rather than being struck with dies as with most western coins.Collectors can obtain affordable yet old, beautiful, and interesting coins associated with …   Wikipedia

  • Characters of The Order of the Stick — This is a list of characters from the webcomic The Order of the Stick (OOTS). It is a comedic webcomic that celebrates and satirizes tabletop role playing games and medieval fantasy through the ongoing tale of the eponymous fellowship of… …   Wikipedia

  • Empress Jingū — nihongo|Empress Jingū|神功天皇| Jingū tennō , also known as nihongo|Empress consort Jingū|神功皇后| Jingū kōgō , (c. AD 169 269) was a legendary empress of Chūai who also served as Regent and de facto leader from the time of her husband s death in 209… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.