mercredi 11 avril 2018

Chinese writing : Carved in History (as in bones)

(The original character had to be turned upside down N.B.)

First, the former form of Chinese writing was called “Jiaguwen”, “Buci”, “Qiwa”, “Shell-and-bone Script” or “Oracle Bone Script”. Jiaguwen was used during the Shang dynasty, in pyromantic divination. Its characters looked like little drawings, each one meaning an idea ( ideograms ).

As it is called, “Oracle Bone Script” used to different types of bones as turtle plastrons or other animal bone. The characters were carved on the bone and it was soaked in a liquid substance and burned ( that is certainly the reason why the bones crackled ) so the oracle could read the “prophety”.

Some examples...

With time, Jiaguwen slightly evolved to give the modern typography.

Source : Wikimedia Commons

Wong Yirong was the first to recognize Jiaguwen as an ancient form of script.He was a Chinese politician and an intellectual.

There were more than 11 forms of scripts. Today, Hanzi and Pinyin systems are used in China. But, they're also used in some other Asian countries such as Japan, Vietnam, Korea,…

Along with simple writing issue, Chinese characters evolved also in calligraphy :

Source :

Could you find what script type is this ? ^ ^

Source : Wikimedia Commons

       ʇdıɹɔs ǝʌısɹnϽ

About the Chinese script form in general, it is completely different with Latin script because of the ideograms. Remember, the ideograms are little symbols which all mean one or, in some case, combined with an other one, some idea(s). However, each Latin character symbolizes one sound.
It's also very different with the syllabary system used in some Asian counties as, for example, Japan, where they use different syllabary systems as hiraganas, or katakanas. The syllabary system, as it is called, works on syllables. Example : a, ka, hi, po, be, nya, jo, shi,… Each syllable is represented by a little symbol, or a combination of two symbols.

Source :

The Chinese script inventor was Cang Jie, also claimed to be the official Yellow Emperor's historian. Legend wants him to be represented as a four-eyed man so, he can see the secrets of earth and sky. They say also  that when he invented the characters, deities and ghosts cried, and the sky rained millet. He was a legendary figure in ancient China. As it is claimed, the Yellow Emperor, shortly after unifying China, charged him to create characters for writing to replace “Quipu” ( also know as the “rope knot tying” method ).

 Léa Debouys

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