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Emilia’s blog : Chinese History and the Hanzi development (please read)

A brief understanding and history to Calligraphy:

Before the Qing dynasty(清朝) none knew that the Jia Gou Wen existed. The Jia Gou Wen was carved into bones and shells and told the simplest of things. It was created around 3000 years before the Qing dynasty.

The people who owned the bones and the shells were often the leaders of the tribes, however only the priests or monks could write the characters so the tribe leaders would order them to write out the characters on the bones and shells. The monks only wrote things like the weather, fortunes, the date and if someone had died or given birth.

The traditional Chinese medicine shops would not only make the medicines with herbs and botany but also with bones and animals, they would use whatever they could find that worked such as, animal skin, shells, bones etc.

Zhuan Shu(篆书) is aother type of the Chinese calligraphy after the Jia Gou Wen(甲骨文), but before the Qin dynasty. There is a book of the characters that have been developed from the oracles over around 1000 years.

Jiaguwen甲骨文, the very old Chinese characters, there is over 3500 years history

Luo Zhenyu(罗振玉) was 1 of 4 people who “discovered” the original characters on the bones and shells. The bones and shells would be buried with the tribe leaders when they died, so as more leaders died the more the evidence was hidden. When Luo Zhenyu and his friends dug up these bones and shells they were intrigued and studied and collected them closely. Luo Zhenyu was in a close alliance with one of the local traditional Chinese medicine shops and he showed them what he had found and he said ‘These are dragon bones(龙骨)’. The person I am staying with, his teachers, teachers, teacher was apparently one of the 4 “founders”.

Zuan Shu is not the first character and calligraphy dictionary, because there are no meanings to the characters in the book. The first proper dictionary was made during the Han dynasty(汉朝) by Xu Shen(许慎), this dictionary(说文解字) not only had the characters in but also the meanings to them as well. Xu Shen sadly didn’t know that the Jia Guo Wen existed, so he collected all the characters and their meanings from the Qin dynasty which was before the Han dynasty. The book is called Shuo Wen Jie Zi(说文解字), the characters shown in the book are Xiao Zhuan(小篆).

Before the Chinese characters all the knowledge came from speech, there was no way to writing anything down or recording anything. The book contains the original meanings of the characters. It shows how the characters have derived from what they originally were to what they are today. Most of the characters are actually a lot simpler in their original form, however the people wanted more to write and for it to be not so simple.

Chinese characters are very well developed which gives them natural rules and meanings. The whole country becomes a lot stronger because the characters have been well developed which helps with developing things such as the military, science and the understand of things in general. A study was done to show how the Chinese characters are a much easier and simpler way of writing things down, they took a novel from Shakespeare which was immensely long and fat and they translated it into Chinese, the Chinese version turned out less than half as thick.

The Han dynasty was roughly 2000 years ago. 1000 years ago was the Tang dynasty(唐朝) which got their entire heritage from the Han dynasty. In the Tang dynasty many more people were able to Travel a lot more by sea. The people in the Tang dynasty who travelled got the nickname Tang Ren (Tang people) from the locals wherever they went in the world. Even after the Tang dynasty many people still travelled a lot and were still called this name , for example, during World War 1 the Chinese were forced to America where they helped build railways and buildings, they created a community called the Tang Ren Jie(唐人街) (literally, Chinese People Street).

In conclusion, before you can learn calligraphy or learn about the Chinese culture you must know the brief history of it. Understanding Chinese characters is key to understanding Chinese culture and calligraphy as it has the philosophy of the Chinese people and their heritage and ethnics, generation by generation.

I hope you all found this interesting, I know it is a lot but hopefully you have learnt something from it! I learnt this, this evening from the person I am staying with. Enjoy 😀

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3 Responses to “Emilia’s blog : Chinese History and the Hanzi development (please read)”

  1. Juicy says:

    I read you article: Chinese History and the Hanzi development. From your article I learn that you know a lot about China. You are so great! So nice to meet you!

  2. Emilia says:

    Thank you very much! Keep reading the blogs!

  3. zzz says:

    well,It is really Jia Gu(not gou) Wen sounded in Chinese.

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