The Character "家" for Home

The first Chinese symbol for home "家" was a pictogram of a pig inside a house — a visual representation of a pig "豕" living underneath a roof "宀".

The oracle bone script for "豕" initially depicted the pig with characteristics such as a large mouth, ears, body, big belly, legs, tail, etc. Over time, however, the depiction of "豕" evolved to become more symbolic. Pigs were commonly raised indoors at the time, and thus, the presence of a pig in the script came to symbolize the concept of a household itself.

"家" is a compound ideogram, where the two ideographic characters are combined together to suggest the meaning of the interior of a house or a dwelling. Its meaning was then further extended to represent a place where one can establish a home.

Leave a comment