Re: Swastika to be banned by Microsoft?

From: Andrew C. West (
Date: Mon Dec 15 2003 - 05:17:03 EST

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    On Sun, 14 Dec 2003 13:39:23 -0500 (EST), Thomas Chan wrote:
    > The entry for U+534D in the _Hanyu Da Zidian_, vol. 1, p. 51 (as indicated
    > in unihan.txt) includes a quote that it was originally not a Han
    > character, "wan ben fei zi ...", suggesting that it now is. There are
    > also serifs shown in that dictionary and the _Kangxi Zidian_ for both
    > characters.
    > Couldn't the above two characters be considerd a "CJK" or "IDEOGRAPHIC"
    > version (like the spaces, zero, punctuation, brackets, etc. in the "CJK
    > Symbols and Punctuation" block)?

    If memory serves me, the swastika was formally designated a Chinese ideograph by
    the redoubtable Empress Wu of the Tang dynasty during the late 7th century.
    Empress Wu had a penchant for creating new ideographs, and decreed that the
    Buddhist swastika symbol should henceforth be considered a Chinese ideograph to
    be pronounced WAN4 (a deliberate homophone for U+842C "10,000"). This is why,
    unexpectedly to some, the swastika symbols are found in the CJK Ideograph block
    rather than elsewhere.

    Incidentally, U+534D and U+5350 are rarely used within running text in Chinese.
    In the decorative arts the swastika motif is generally described as WAN4ZI4
    <842C, 5B57> "WAN ideograph", as in the word WAN4ZI4JIN1 <842C, 5B57, 5DFE>, a
    type of turban with a swastika decoration that was the height of fashion during
    the Ming dynasty.


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