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On the Chinese characters ‘乐’ and ‘舞’ = 说“乐”“舞”
The World of Chinese = 汉语世界
  • Dekuan HUANG
  • Liping BAI
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Chinese drama is a comprehensive art. Whether in Beijing opera, Shaoxing opera, Huangmei opera or other local dramas, there are singing, recitation, mime and acrobatics - a synthesis of both music and dancing. In this article we discuss the two Chinese characters “乐” (music) and “舞” (dancing). Many ancient Chinese characters are pictographic, but it is not easy to present the complicated meanings of “乐” and “舞”through their current forms. So, how did ancient Chinese create these two characters? 中国戏曲是综合性的艺术,不管是京剧,还是越剧、黄梅戏等地方剧种,都讲究唱、念、做、打,乐舞兼备。这里我们说说“乐”和“舞”这两个字。古代汉字的构造追求以形表意,不过 要将“音乐”和“舞蹈”这么复杂的意思,在文 字形体上表现出来可不是一件容易的事。那么,当初古人是怎么构造“乐”和“舞”这两个字的呢?
Citation Information
Huang, D., & Bai, L. (Trans.) (2008). On the Chinese characters ‘乐’ and ‘舞’ = 说“乐”“舞”. The World of Chinese = 汉语世界, (2), 78-81.