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Any use of the symbols created in this project should first be checked through contact with this email: odensibiri@gmail.com.

17 March 2011


Middle + Fire/energy + Top + Land/Life = Chí

Note - 18 March 2011:
I understand that 'Chí' is a very abstract concept in Igbo culture (among many things), and this character was created to capture the basic "idea" of Chi. Many concepts in Igbo culture may not be able to be explained with words. The characters that will be created do not intend to add any meaning to the concepts, but to create a character that is, in a basic form, relevant to the concept as has been done with old nsibidi. Nsibidi characters used to import words into nsibidi writing will not attempt to explain the complete purpose of the concept it represents, but, instead, to roughly rationalise its use as a representative of that word. A circle with strokes around it will not explain the role of the sun in photosynthesis. Thanks for bringing this to my attention so I could explain.


  1. Chi is a very abstract and complex idea that deals heavily with predestination/fate/destiny & individualism/sovereignty/will/the self. The "chi" you've got up here though, seems like you want to talk in part of the Chinese understanding of their own "chi", as opposed to the Igbo (and to an extent, West African understanding). In fact, in my opinion, I'd venture to say that the understanding of "chi" is kind of beyond written & spoken expression. Still, I have to say, it's nice that you tackled this concept.

  2. The character for chi was meant to be understood as personal spirit, or personal center which is why there is a suggestion of a 'middle' character in it. The concept of 'Chi' in Igbo and Chinese culture isn't completely different so there will be similarities in writing, and the two concepts may even have ancient links. Chi is also believed to be a personal god and it is linked to the sun and therefore energy, which is why there are three rays in the character. I made a character for 'Chukwu' before I made chi, and I has to post 'Chi' first. The fact that God almighty in Igbo is understood and the 'Great chi' suggests that 'Chi' in Igbo is a life force/energy. I agree you cannot explain 'Chi' in writing or speech.

  3. And there will be other transliterations that will be controversial.

  4. Oh okay. Understood. I really like how you're coming along with this project. It's given me new hope for a screenplay that I'm currently writing. I'm looking to incorporate the outcome of this project into the film; showcase the rehabilitation and further development of indigenous language and culture.

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