Sunday, 25 December 2011


This seemed to be the best choice for Christmas!

Rejoice in the Season! Share the JPG too!

OH and please let people know about the TEchnozi and other claendars and prints available from

 MY Red Bubble Online Gallery shop

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Karasu the Fiery Crow

So why have I called this one the fiery crow?
If you're looking it up ou have to look under FIRE NOT LONG TAILED BIRD.
Why? Cos there's No DOT stroke in the middle of the "head"!

This is a picture by Koson an early 20th century Japanese possibly inspired by a famous haiku by Basho the one about the crow in the withered branch. The OO of Karasu and WU is also the OO of OOlong - Black Dragon tea! Okay that's enuff crowing puns and corvid trivia!

Enjoy the pic and the flash card!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Jo is holding Fire!

Jo is holding fire might make a good key phrase for memorizing this character?

My community college is on summer break so I'm going to try to get posts out twice a week using the scheduling function. The morning's mild humidity in Sydney ended in a thunderstorm a little while ago.

I wonder if Mandarin spekaers would have as much trouble pronouncin ghtose initial ng sounds in Viet and Hakka as an Englsih speaker like me. I can get about halfway to a palatal nasal like the Viet nh and at least partly palatize a n but a lot of people just change ng and nh to n! How about you?

Saturday, 10 December 2011


Just a picture today! Been rather busy with helping a sick relative move house!

Folks don't forget you can see larger versions of many of my Technozi in a Calendar!

a little help with PR by passing on the urls would be great!

the less time I have to spend on marketing and PR the more time I can spend on researching and crafting images and info for you!

and there are prints too!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Summer Signs

It's Summer in Sydney!

Folks it's also nearly Xmas. May I make a request? Well 2!

I have no summer job or paid holiday leave and have to live off savings until February.

I both work casually as an assistant and study at a local college and I would love to have A MAC PRO Book but even with a student discount...

Could you consider either mentioning my Technozi and other Calendars to friends and family?

Thank You!

Saturday, 26 November 2011


No prizes for guessing what sort of weather Sydney was having up to a day or so ago and mabye again next week? Let's say I'm tempting to make some revolting puns out of the SinoJapanese ON reading of this character! The seal form shows threads of water dripping.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Slender Gold

Slender Gold is the name of a Chinese Calligraphy style.
The painting and the calligraphy in Slender gold style are by the Song Emperor Hui Zong.

Note the beautiful balance of thick and thin strokes.

If only Hui zong had been as great a statesman and ruler as he was artist!

I wonder if any typographers have used Slender Gold as the basis for a font design yet?

Friday, 11 November 2011

Once was a Rainbow

Once was a Rainbow. Yes this Character means rainbow. Modern Asian languages that use Chinese characters generally use variant sof hong/  hung 2 (Unicode 8679) but the older form is this character (Unicode 9713) NI 2 . In SinoJapanese its GEI and also niji. The oldest pronouciation was probably * nghi or ngei as the Cantonese is ngai or ai 4. Hakka is nai. Min nan ge. Korean changes this to yey and Vietnamese to nghi. Like many other classicla older forms its become neglected in favor of characters with less strokes easier to remember and write.

If you look at the seal script its tempting  to think the original sign was read as a rainbow or any multicolored haze or cloud in the sky, the other meaning of the word, being  the child of the sky or rain.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Gou vs Wang

#unihan #chinese #network #wang #gou 

I have often why no one has tried to revive the usage of GOU as a separate character?

GOU U5193 Radical 13 8 strokes is an very old word that originally might something like network framework of connected things, rafters, canals. The original sound was something like *kaung or gau? as the Cantonese is gau, SinoJapanese, Koo, and Hakka and Viet kieu.

Simpler forms win out over complexity regardless of meaning in ideogrammic scripts!

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N.B. Patreon Pledgers at a higher level will be eligible for an ebook I'm compiling of some of my prior technozi posts. Wanna pledge and suggest a topic?

Monday, 17 October 2011

BI the color of what?

BI the color of what?

These 2 separate characters express two different ideas or do they?

They are pronounced Bi with the 4th tone.

The one on the color is a adjective meaning, depenidng on which dictionary you consult, emerald, azure, sky blue, green, jasper, or green jade. Li Ho used it in a poem to describe the color of the sky at sunset.

A green sky? or A green stone?

I think what we're seeing here is a semantic split of one word into two meanings and characters.

Consider the character on the left Bi a stone disc a symbol of authority often made of jade but also of other semiprecious stones.  The word or rather the character for jade is also used in the name of gemstones that are must certainly not jade, nephrite, or jadeite.

One word to describe the color of stone or sky.

Another to describe an object some experts regard as being a solar symbol.

My theory is that the word originally meant the color of sunlight on stone. People started comparing the color of the sky to polished stones and vice versa .... then writing developed and having two separate characters lessened confusion and over the centuries one became two?

Odd idea?  No odder than leaf meaning leaf of a book and leaf of a tree in English or Book in English and German being derived from the name of the birch tree  because the bark was used for writing on.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Hello Readers identify this character!

I'm testing to see if there are humans and not just search engines and software bots visiting this  blog!

The first visitor to comment on the meaning gets some free art work say a design based on their name?


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Yue Sacred Mountain

Sacred Mountain Image Copyright J. Vaux 2011

This is the Seal Script form of one of my faovrite Chinese Words. YUE Sacred mountain.

The original form of the word centuries ago seems to have been something like #NGAK judging from its form on other dialects.

What intrigues me is the image. Two "dogs" or wolves. Are they howling or standing on the mountains' slopes and why is the sign for speech between them? I don't think wolves howl on the slopes of any of China's Sacred Mountains today or have for millenia. What's the story behind this if any?

I created this image by stripping the background out of a scan of the character then changing the colors and then using the Texture sfx in GIMP.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Inkstone

In East Asian culture the Inkstone is one of the Four Treasures of the Scholar's Studio along with
Paper, Ink, and the Brush. The one shown above is a particularly ornate example of this once essential tool.

Nowadays Ink can be bought in bottles but many people still like to ground their own ink finding the rhythm of inkstick on stone a soothing preparation before adding ink to paper.

The words for Inkstone in various languages : Yan Ngan Jan Ken Suzuri Jin Nghien GEN Yen.
The Unicode is 786F and 781A  if you're using the simplified form.

I've tried both methods. It takes longer to get a strong black with an inkstick on an inkstone but the tonal range is more softer in the grays and blends well with watercolor. Enjoy experimenting if you do decide to try using one?

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Why Japanese needs Kana and Kanji - One OMOI

Here's one Japanese Word that has two different meanings.

I've included the Unihan UTF 16 coding.

While Kana are often used to show a Japanese equivalent cos a lot of borrowed Chinese words sound the same in a non tonal language like Japanese or to help readers with limited knowledge of SinoJapanese ON readings in reverse using Kanji instead of Kana helps when there's a homonym in Japanese!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

GOU and Networks!

Copyright J. Vaux 2011
 I have often wondered why WANG is used instead of this sign GOU  in words like Internet?

Yes this is an older character with more strokes than WANG but it sems to me that Gou in both its modern and seal forms better expresses the idea of a network as links and connections and frameworks for both support and flow?

This png was created in Inkscape as a SVG file using Unicode and the Control U command then saved and re opened in GIMP where shadow was added to create a 3D effect.

Why WANG instead of GOU? What's your view?

A note for readers - items selected for Amazon ads are books or products I have read or used myself or had recommended by a reliable source.

Friday, 2 September 2011

More about Yung and the Strokes that made up the character.

Here they are. The Dot. The Horizontal. The Vertical. The Hook.

      The Four Main Variants on the Slanting or Oblique Stroke.

      I'm not going to do an extended commentary as nearly every book on
      Chinese Calligraphy shows variations of this or similar diagrams.

      Use this or any other diagrams you come across in books or on the web
      as reminders and then copy practise and copy and practise some more!

Oh and if you live in a city large enuff to have a suburb that specializes in Asian stores you may be able to find calligraphy manuals that show the characters superimposed on a grid that you can study!

(No I didn't just mispell enuff ...I just see no point in spelling enuff as enough unless I'm writing VERY formal English and this is not a thesis!)

About the Amazon Associates Contextual Ads. I have tried to add books I can recommend because I either own them or have used them myself as library reference books or they have a very good reputation.

Remember Copy and Practise!

Support this blog VIA

Thursday, 25 August 2011

An "Eternal" Introduction

Before I can discuss Hanzi in any form traditional or modern let's review the basics.

The character Yung / Yong / Ei and other names means "eternal" and more literally in seal script endless flowing waters. By happy accident its modern form incorporates most of the basic strokes used for writing zi!

There's the dot (1) and (2) is a shorter form of the essential horizontal stroke that also means ONE.

In forming this character a change of direction and a twist of the brush extends it into (3) the stick or vertical stroke and then (7) the hook . (4) and (5) along with (8) and (6) combine  variants of the diagonal .

There are also more variants of the dot and slash I'll share with you soon.

Meanwhile whether you're trying to write Characters with a felt tip pen a heavy biro or pen and ink or a brush and ink or brush tip marker look at those arrows in the diagram and follow them as you copy it!

Next time more on YUNG!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Welcome to TechnoZi!

 Are you interested in Han Zi also known as Hanji or Hanja, the set of characters used to write a variety of dialects and languages throughout East and South East Asia and elsewhere around the world?

Chinese, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Japanese, Hokkien, Korean.

Whether you do traditional calligraphy, are learning an Asian language, or do typography in Asian scripts on a computer, I hope you'll join me as I share some of my  researches and experiments.

I am not fully fluent in Chinese or Japanese but that's probably my studies get diverted into pleasurable  minor paths of exploration as I research the meanings of words trying to translate ancient poems.

I also like to use Unihan and SVG to generate characters and then modify them with the computer!

Some times I scan characters and change the BG and add plug-ins and  filters.

This blog will apppear roughly about once a week!