This is the Chinese pictogram (pictograph, ideograph, ideogram, whatever you think it should be called) representing the word "peace." It's derived from pictograms showing a woman under a roof. I'm not sure whether it means that things are peaceful when women are indoors in their proper place, or that it takes a woman to keep a house in order. My dad says a more common meaning is "safety", which makes more sense in terms of a woman safe inside the house.

It's pronounced as "an", where the "a" sounds sort of like the "a" in "bat".

Coincidentally, it's also the second syllable of my first name, so I sometimes use it as an abbreviated signature. If you'd like, you can see some cards that I've designed with the peace/an motif.

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last updated: 2/23/00