Friday, November 04, 2005

How many holes are there in a man's body?

According to oriental medicine, there are nine holes in a man's body. Seven of the holes are in the head: the eyes, the ears, the nostrils, and the mouth. The other two holes are the butt hole and the pee hole. In Korean, these nine holes are referred to as 구규(九竅). The character 九(구) means "nine," and 竅(규) means "hole." Another name for the nine holes is 구혈(九穴). The character 穴(혈) also means "hole."

Between 구규(九竅) and 구혈(九穴), I like 구혈(九穴) better because 穴(혈) is much easier to write than 竅(규), and it is also more useful since it is one of the 214 radicals. The reason I bring up the topic of "the nine holes," is because I became interested in 穴(혈) after seeing it in the story about the tiger and the bear who wanted to become human. According to the story, the tiger and bear lived in the "same hole" (同穴). Here is the relevant passage from the story:

時有一熊一虎 同穴而居
시유일웅일호 동혈이거

At the time, a bear and a tiger lived together in the same cave.
  • (시) = time; then
  • (유) = exist; have
  • (일) = one
  • (웅) = bear
  • (호) = tiger
  • (동) = together; same
  • (혈) = hole; cave
  • (이) = maybe "together"
  • (거) = live

In the above Chinese, I am not sure of the meaning of 而(이), but together with 居(거), it seems to mean "live together"(而居). By the way, the character 而(이) is often seen in Chinese writings because it has several other meanings, including "and," "therefore," "but," "although," "just," and "you." As for the character 穴(혈), notice how it changes shape when it is used as part of other characters:

  • (공) empty
  • (구) research
  • (군) poor; destitute; needy
  • (굴) tunnel; dugout
  • (궁) exhausted; used up; poor
  • (궁) sky
  • (규) watch furtively; spy on; wait for a chance; guess
  • (돌) suddenly; to collide with; to penetrate
  • (요) secluded; deep; dark
  • (요) a kiln (for pottery or bricks)
  • (절) to steal; thief; stealthily
  • (정) a pit; trap
  • (질) to close; to block up
  • (착) narrow; tight; small
  • (창) window
  • 穿(천) to dig through; to penetrate

By the way, a while back I posted "here" about the character 肛(항), which means "anus." I said that the character should be redesigned because combining 月(육), which means "meat," and 工(공), which means "craftsman," did not make sense. A "meaty craftsman" means "anus"? Anyway, I felt the authority in charge of Chinese characters should combine 月(육) with a character that means "hole." I made a couple of suggestions, but now I think the best combination would be to combine 月(육) with 穴(혈), which would look great above 月(육). In fact, I cannot imagine a better looking "asshole."

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