The Chinese pictograph for "pig" ("hog", "swine") was originally drawn like the following, which appeared on oracle bones dating back to three thousand years ago:
The character was later written as
The word shown above, pronounced [shǐ], is NOT commonly used nowadays to refer to pigs. Another that emerged later on to serve that purpose. That new word was created by combining 豕 and another radical, 者, so it looks like this:
The added part in the word indicates the pronunciation of the new character, [zhū], which is another way for the Chinese to say "pig." The word has since been standardized to be
Pigs in China, like their fellow swine beings around the world, are considered to dirty, lazy and gross. They're simply despised, notwithstanding the fact that pork makes such an important part of the Chinese cuisine. Expressions in the Chinese language that involve pigs are almost universally negative. A man who does not look good is said to have a "pig head" - 猪头 [zhū tóu]. Someone who is sound asleep is sleeping like a "dead pig" - 死猪 [sǐ zhū]. In the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West, 猪八戒 [zhū bá jiè] is a literally pig-headed former demon who goes on a pilgrimage reluctantly. Slothful, gluttonous, he is quite lewd too and can hardly walk every time he sees a female figure.
It is the unfortunate fate of a pig that the bigger he grows, the sooner he will be killed. There is this Chinese folk saying that warns people again their quest for celebrity. 人怕出名猪怕壮 [rén pà chū míng zhū pà zhuàng] - “A man should be concerned if he is getting famous because this is just like a pig gaining weight."