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旗 Flag (Qi2)

旗 qi2 flag

This character is the image of a flag. Originally the flag was on the left; the character was simplified and standardized to its present form. The person in stocks (cangue) on the left originally was the guard tower holding the flag. The sideways/abbreviated ren2 person character on the top right was originally the flag, and appeared on the left on top of what is now the slave in stocks (cangue). The bottom right character originally was the kit and equipment of the color guard.

Today it may be most easily remembered as a square flag on the left with it’s penannt on the top right and the standard bearers kit and equipment on the lower right. Alternatively, you may like to think of the man in stocks on the left as the guard, the flag as a tool (qi2) on the lower right and the image of the penant on the top right.

In any case, tool on the lower left is also a phonetic clue: it says qi2 just like this character. A flag is a tool of state power, which includes the power to imprison exile guard and defend.

It is a pictophonetic character. Note that phonetic elements generally also are pictorial and/or semantic.

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