The Tao Character

Tao character 5

Thumbnail: Tao character 1
Thumbnail: Tao character 2
Thumbnail: Tao character 3
Thumbnail: Tao character 4
Thumbnail: Tao character 6
Thumbnail: Tao character 7
Thumbnail: Tao character 8

A few spot­tings of the “Tao” char­ac­ter while I was in Hong Kong. The word is some­what ubiq­ui­tous, since it can mean “road”, “path”, or “way”, and so marks road signs every­where. This is the same char­ac­ter that I got tat­tooed on my right wrist.

It’s inter­est­ing to see how dif­fer­ent Chinese char­ac­ters can look, whether they’re engraved, paint­ed, writ­ten, or stamped.


  1. Neat. I looked at it with an eye to which strokes come in what order, pret­ty inter­est­ing. 13 strokes at least! I think I could write it now.

    • Yeah, it’s usu­al­ly 12 strokes I think (the last and sec­ond-last strokes are usu­al­ly com­bined, but for some rea­son it’s some­times split). Lots of Chinese writ­ing fol­lows rules of which strokes and direc­tion to write, so I would­n’t be sur­prised if you knew how to write it just by look­ing at it.

  2. It’s such a beau­ti­ful char­ac­ter. It’s struc­tured while flu­id. Like the Tao itself.

    • It makes you won­der: did the word come first, or the idea?

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