Etymology of Chinese Characters

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Picture of a person. Usually considered to represent two legs, the rest of the body being abbreviated. But early forms appear to show the whole body in profile, with one arm and one leg. The character got turned on its side (a common occurrence). As a component, rén is often written 亻 on the left side of characters, as in 他, 们, 你, 仁 , etc.
Picture of a woman. The horizontal stroke in the modern character derives from the head (left end), body and legs (right end), while the two strokes crossing at the bottom are arms. The whole character became turned sideways (a common occurrence).
Baby’s head, arms and torso. Legs invisible in swaddling clothes.