Landscape of a rice harvest by the river and mountains
Many know that Chinese characters began by looking like the thing they describe, and even today, many of the characters still do. For example, the character for man (人) looks like a man with two legs. Other characters, by combing, form other characters, such as the character for forest (森) which is a composite of three wood (木) characters stacked together.
I can’t be the first one to do this, but since Chinese characters are pictograms, why can’t they just be used in a picture wholesale? Thus this illustration, Landscape of a rice harvest by the river and mountains.
On the top left is the rice field, where bushels of golden rice (米) wait to be harvested by the farmer wearing a hat (农) and wielding a sickle. The already-harvested rice simply turn back into fields (田). His field is irrigated by the river that flows (川), and there is a boat (船) that is floating on it. The river is lined by the mountains (山), covered by forests (森).
The path leading from the field leads to the farmer’s home, It is but a simple house, with a single door (門) flanked by two windows (窗) and topped by red tiles (瓦). The house is by a forest, build out of large trees. A tree is essentially wood (木) topped by leaves (叶), yet the difference between wood and leaves are the little circular mouths (口) that feed the tree without the roots.