“My God, it’s full of stars! And turtles and dragons!”

CJK Unified Ideographs is a very deep and fascinating subject, and there are people who sometimes— and anecdotally—claim that it is a bottomless pit (or infinite tunnel, hence the quote in this article’s title). The latter may appear to be accurate, especially when one considers what is happening on that front, such as Extension F with its 7,473 new characters slated for Unicode Version 10.0 in June of 2017, and with work on Extension G commencing.

Looking at the existing CJK Unified Ideographs—80,388 in Unicode Version 8.0—there are lots of interesting characters. The image below shows a small number of characters that represent dragon and turtle, showing multiple regional variations for some of them, with the corresponding emoji thrown in for good measure and to indicate which line is for which creature:

For those who are interested, here is the actual language-tagged “plain text” version of these two lines → 🐉 & 🐢.

Speaking of turtles and dragons, I once tweeted that the road to “Ideograph Hell” is paved in turtles and dragons, but the 84-stroke UTC-02960 (taito) in IRG Working Set 2015 (aka Extension G) suggests that it is instead paved in clouds and dragons:

Here’s its IDS (Ideographic Description Sequence): ⿳雲⿲雲龍雲⿰龍龍.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how Extension G develops over the next few IRG (Ideographic Rapporteur Group) meetings. In addition to taito above, the simplified and traditional forms of biáng are being considered.

Updated on 2016-05-26 to reflect the latest Extension F figures.


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