人 looks in oracle bone inscriptions like and shows the side view of a standing person. In modern script the full version of the graph person has lost an arm, but gained a leg (the head is still left to the imagination).¹ However, the abbreviated form 亻 that is often used as signific retains a bit more of the original. In modern script 人, when used in compound graphs, may also look like 𠆢 (on top) or 儿 (on the bottom) or even more abstract and abbreviated.²
- Compared to hieroglyphs, oracle bone inscriptions seem to lack details. However, for most of the time the ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphs solely as a ceremonial script. Its scribes used hieratic script (a kind of longhand variant of hieroglyphs) for daily use. Hieratic is even more abstract than OBI (Powell, 2012, pp. 105-106). In China, some formal bronze inscriptions from about the same time as OBI also have more details and elaborations.
- See the resources below for a developmental overview of 人 from OBI to current.