How much do you know about the origin of Chinese characters?


As the saying goes, "Chinese culture is broad and profound". Chinese culture is very rich and profound There are many kinds, a wide range and great depth. Chinese characters are the distinctive representative of them.

Chinese characters are the symbol of Chinese civilization and the only surviving characters in the world since ancient times.

The history of the development and evolution of Chinese characters has a long history. Scholars of all dynasties have been committed to uncover the mystery of the origin of Chinese characters. There are various theories of the origin of Chinese characters in ancient Chinese documents, such as "rope tying theory", "Bagua theory", "picture theory", "Carving Symbol Theory", "Cangjie word making theory", and so on.

一、Rope Tying Theory

Tying rope to record events refers to one of the means for human beings in ancient times to get rid of the limitation of time and space, record facts and spread. It happened in the long years after the emergence of language and before the emergence of words.

In some tribes, in order to record and pass down the customs, traditions, legends and major events of the tribe, ropes of different thicknesses are used to form knots at different distances. The knots are large and small. Each knot method, distance and rope thickness express different meanings, which are recorded by special personnel  according to certain rules and handed down from generation to generation.

However, whether one rope is used to tie a knot or multiple ropes are used to cross horizontally and vertically, in the final analysis, it is just some simple concepts to represent and record numbers or other directions. For example, remember big things and small things. The number of knots also represents the number of things. It can only help people remember certain things, but it can't exchange ideas. It is the gestation stage before the emergence of characters.

二、Carving Symbol

Carving symbol, that is, the ancients engraved some numbers or pictographic symbols on pottery, bamboo and wood pieces or tortoise shells to convey information. People use the method to mark the number with a certain line and engrave it on wood or bamboo as a contract between both parties. Later, people separated the contract from the middle as two halves, with each side holding half. Take the coincidence as the evidence. The number engraved on the ancient contract is mainly suitable for debt certificates.

三、Picture Theory

Due to the lack of Knot Notes and Carving Symbol. People have to use other methods, such as painting, to help remember and express ideas. They use the lines or strokes of words to outline the shape characteristics of the object to be expressed. Painting leads to the production of words.

四、The earliest mature Chinese character -- Oracle Bone Inscriptions

It is well documented that the emergence of Chinese characters was in the late Yin and Shang Dynasties in the 14th century BC, when a preliminary stereotyped character, namely oracle bone inscriptions, was formed. Oracle bone inscriptions are words left on tortoise shells or animal bones by writing or carving. They are mainly used for divination, and some are used to record events. Oracle bone inscriptions are both pictographic and phonetic characters. At this time, most of the characters evolved from picture characters, so its pictographic degree is relatively high. Because they are engraved on animal bones, the strokes are relatively thin and there are more straight strokes.