Chinese culture has a long history, and Chinese characters are the most concentrated expression, almost all of the development and spread of Chinese culture and Chinese characters have a close relationship.
Chinese characters are still in use today, it’s the oldest and best preserved writing in the world, and Chinese characters are an important symbol of the Chinese civilization.
The Chinese character culture exhibition hall on the first floor of Tianjin International Chinese College, shows the origin and development of Chinese characters.
Chinese Characters from the beginning, constantly changed, and the impetus for change was the development of productivity. Chinese characters, from the knots and the Oracle-bone inscriptions of the ancient stage, through the course of wooden bamboo and silk paper, its morphological changes deeply marked with the imprint of different eras.
Oracle, also known as "Qi scripts", "Oracle bones scripts" or "turtle shell bones scripts", is the scripts inscribed on tortoise shells or animal bones.
“Jinwen” (gold script) are inscriptions engraved on the bronze in Yin and Zhou dynasties, also known as “Zhongdingwen”. In Shang and Zhou dynasties, it is the age of bronze, “Ding” is the representative of the sacrificial vessel in bronze, while “Zhong” is the representative of the musical instruments, "Zhong&Ding" is synonymous with the bronze. The so called bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. China was in the Bronze Age as early as in “Xia” dynasty, the smelting of copper and bronze manufacturing technology was well developed. Before “Zhou” dynasty copper was called gold, so the inscription on the bronze called “Jinwen” (gold script) or "Jijin scripts"; and because the numbers of words on the bronze of “Zhong&Ding” were the most, so in the past it was also known as "Zhongdingwen".
Bamboo slip, the written material of the Warring States period to the Wei and Jin dynasties, is made from cut strips of bamboo (sometimes wood, called wooden slips), tablets are wider and thicker than slips, if it’s made from bamboo, it’s called bamboo tablet, or wood is called wooden tablet. It’s all written in ink with a brush. The length of the book, such as writing Imperial Rescript or laws and decrees, is three feet long (about 67.5cm), for copying Confucian classics, the length is two feet and four inches long (about 56cm), the length for folk letters is a foot (about 23cm), so people also call letter as "foot tablet".
China is the first country to use coined money. With the development of commodity economy, currency and character are inextricably linked.
Seals, after Qin and Han dynasties the Emperor’s seal is called as Royal Seal. Earliest seals were made from copper, now most of the earliest seals are from the Warring States period. Seal system was established in Qin dynasty, it had been further developed and improved in Han dynasty. There are a wide range of Chinese seals, it shows the overall appearance of square and upright, plain, peacefulness and broadness, Chinese seals are characterized by large capacity, it can be gold, silver, bronze, jade, stone and other materials, the seal makers use the techniques of carving, casting and chiseling to produce different artistic effects on the seal surface.
Eaves tile, refers to construction attachments used to decorate and beautify and cover cornices of buildings in Eastern Han dynasty and Western Han dynasty. The most front tile on the roof is called eaves tile, tiles are engraved with text and patterns.
As the four treasures of main writing tool, must be mentioned. The four treasures, namely brush, ink, paper and ink stone.
Paper is a great invention for Han, but "rice paper" is still available for unique handmade paper used for brush paintings and calligraphy, rice paper is pliable, white, smooth, color durable, absorbent, has the reputation of “long-lived paper” internationally.
Brush is a unique ancient Chinese writing and drawing tool which style is different from the feather used in western nations before. Although in today’s world, pencil, pen, are popular writing tools but the brush cannot be replaced.
Ink is the pigment used for writing and painting. Ink master Xi Chao and his son Xi Ting in Tang dynasty made good ink, they were appreciated by emperor of Southern Tang dynasty Li Yu, the Xi family was granted the name Li, and "Li ink" became famous. In Song dynasty the place of origin of “Li ink” was renamed to Huizhou, so "Li ink" was renamed "Hui ink".
Inkstone, commonly known as the ink stone, is the tool for grinding pigments. Inkstone had been popular in Han dynasty, there were a wide variety of inkstones in Ming and Qing dynasty known as "four famous inkstone", i.e. Duan inkstone, Xi inkstone, Tao inkstone and Cheng Ni inkstone.
Chinese characters went through 6000 years of change, its evolution is: Oracle →Gold script→Small seal script → Official script → Regular script → Running script → Cursive script. The following writing is gold script.
Compared with Oracle, Oracle is fine, straight, bend and square, while Gold script is thick, curved and round.
Below is a carved porcelain script work.
The official script, also known as the ancient calligraphy and Chinese characters commonly found in a stately font, writing slightly flat, long. Official script originated from the Qin dynasty, sorted by Cheng Miao, peaked in the Eastern Han dynasty.
Carved porcelain is done by using special tool to carve a variety of images and patterns in porcelain, porcelain surface.
Learning Chinese language can’t be done without Chinese characters, understanding character development will contribute to the learning of Chinese characters.
Chinese character is an important carrier of inheriting and carrying forward the Chinese culture, it is the basic identity of Chinese nationality and symbol of Chinese civilization, and it has a great and far-reaching impact on literacy culture of North Korea, Korea, and Japan and other countries. The Chinese character culture will become the world’s beautiful cultural landscape!
(Copyright of the pictures shown here belongs to Tianjin International Chinese College, using without permission is prohibited)