Subscribe to our newsletter for periodic updates and valuable coupons.
Introduction to Chinese Characters
Chinese character, symbol of Chinese civilization, is a unique character created by Chinese nation. Dating to ten thousands years of rude times, ancient people had learned how to express themselves with language, later by hand signals. However, some objects are hard to express through both ways above-mentioned, the way of marking came into being. Due to too much marks and its reason of being forgettable, figures began to replace the marks. For example, the character of sun is depicted as the shape of a circle and tree as that of the physical object of tree. Gradually, the earliest hieroglyphic writing was formed.
( There are hieroglyphic writing on ceramic ware over 4500 years ago. )
As time goes on, mankind came to the period of slave society. More and more things needed to record with words, therefore those marks obviously could not meet the increasing demand for expression with their trivial details. Ancient people began to simplify some hieroglyphic writing, and combine them to create a kind of new character which is easier to be understood. For instance, put the characters of ‘ren’ （人 means people ）and ‘mu’ （木 means wood ）together, a new character of ‘xiu’ （休 means rest ）formed which means that a man sleeps with his or her back against the tree. By this way, large amount of characters are created and a new type of Chinese character appeared, that is semasiography.
( There is a semasiography which means woods, and put two 'mu' (木 means wood) together.)
During the Spring and Autumn Period, a number of kingdoms emerged in China land, which used different characters. Therefore the case of one character with more meanings and more characters with only one meaning was becoming prevalence, which led to great difficulty for cultural exchange among kingdoms. It did not stop until the unified Middle kingdom came into being by the first emperor Qinshihuang, who gave an edict that only one character, i.e. small seal script, could be used throughout the whole country. This character is a little bit more simplified than previously used characters, but still complicated. Under this circumstance, a kind of emergency character, i.e clerical script gradually became popular among the people. During the three kingdoms period, Zhongyao of Wei dynasty created another kind of character, i.e. regular script, which is comparatively convenient and handsome. From this time on, the square shape of Chinese character has been established, and form of a Chinese character appeared.
( The first emperor of China: Qin Shihuang )
( Small Seal Script )
( <-- Clerical Script and Regular Script --> )
Later, people successively created various style like grass style and running script. Meanwhile, a number of prominent calligraphers emerged, including ‘Zhong, Wang’, ‘Yan, Liu’, ‘Su, Huang, Mi, Cai’. The development of Chinese character gradually stepped into a higher level. With the evolvement of Chinese character, the number of it is becoming more and more, which led to the emergence of Chinese character tool for people to look up, like ‘WORD AND EXPRESSION’ and Kangxi Dictionary and so on.
( <-- Grass Style and Running Script --> )
( Various Style of One Word: Small Seal Script, Clerical Script, Running Script and Regular Script Grass Style )
Chinese character has undergone historical test of tens of thousands of years, and becoming a kind of symbol of Chinese nation, and a mark of Chinese people. At present, Chinese learning is becoming more and more popular all over the world with the increasing rise of international status of China.
Compiled by Alan and edited by Jackie from Chilture.com