Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Liù shū 六書 (Six Scripts)
(6,010 words)

The term liù shū 六書 ‘six scripts’ usually refers to the six traditionally recognized types of Chinese character structures or usages. The term is first attested in the Zhōu lǐ 周禮 [Rites of Zhōu], section “Dì guǎn, Bǎo shì 地管保氏” [Terrestrial offices, administrator for fostering youth] (Zhōu lǐ zhùshū 14/6b) as one of the subjects in which the royal heir-apparent was to be tutored, but what exactly the liù shū are is not in that text spelled out, and it cannot be assumed that the term there necessarily refers to the same thing that it means from Hàn times on (Zhāng…

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William G. BOLTZ, “Liù shū 六書 (Six Scripts)”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 27 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_000053>
First published online: 2015

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