Most early forms of 中 appear to show a flag with streamers (see below).¹ Its standardized form seems to have been the result of simplification.² As to the details of this flag there is no established theory.³ Perhaps arguing from the early meanings of the word 中, Ochiai suggests that the flag may have been used at the center of the body of an army.⁴
Qiú argues that 衷 (originally pointing to a word “undergarment”) was loaned to write the word 中 when it had a psychological or moral meaning.⁵ Schuessler writes that 中 may be the same word as 忠.⁶
- Sinica database (accessed 2019-07-16); Seeley et al. p. 61; Ochiai, 2016, p. 380.
- Qiú, 2000, p. 87, n. 22.
- Ochiai, ibid; An editor on the page for 中 on en.wiktionary.org writes (without giving a source) that archeological evidence allows for the interpretation that the middle part of 中 depicted a drum (accessed 2019-07-16).
- Ochiai, ibid.
- Qiú, 2000, p. 273.
- Schuessler, p. 621.