I think I’m learning Chinese, I think I’m learning Chinese, I really think so…
Today we are not only going to learn a Chinese symbol but actually understand it! Better yet its the symbol for Hemp…
Although the symbol has gone through slight variations throughout the centuries, the concept remains the same. Incredibly the symbol also shows us the changes in Chinese cannabis drying techniques.
Lets have a look at the modern day symbol for Hemp or ‘Ma’
modern day chinese script for hemp
So lets break this symbol down. In the symbol we have 2 upside down hemp plants. These hemp plants have their roots removed hanging the whole plant, branches still on stalk. These two hemp plants are upside down because in the symbol they are drying in a shed or drying room.
I know, the first Chinese symbol you can actually understand!
Now I said that technique used for drying hemp has changed as evident in their symbol for it. Lets have a look at the first appearance of the symbol for hemp or Ma from Seal Script around 1,200BC.
Seal Script for hemp
Here we can see in the early days, they were drying with the roots left on… This is evident by the hemp plants hanging in the shed. Here is a example of what I mean showing where the ground would be on the hemp plants characters.
Hence these hemp plants still have their roots on…
Later around 800BC we see a change in drying technique shown in Bronze script. In this symbol we see roots left on main stalk with the branches hung separately.
Bronze script for Hemp
From there there are a couple variations to where we are at today, whole plant with roots off…
No matter how you dry it, the symbol premise remains the same, in the final product!