When researching writing in Ancient China I found out a lot of interesting things, like how they made stamps and how they wrote on bones, bamboo, and brass. I learnt Chinese writing started at about 2650 BC, since then it has developed and been improved by different people. Writing was used for things like poetry, important messages, and stories. Emperors would have scribes write things for him, scribes were special because they have excellent handwriting and concentration. I think that Chinese writing is very complicated because there is no limit to the amount of characters. When Chinese writing first started the letters looked very simple but when the scribes changed the way characters looked started to get more complicated.
Chinese writing was created by Cangjie in 2650 BC. The first pieces of writing were on pieces of bones and bamboo. Later on they started to engrave letters on brass. Some of the first pieces of Chinese writing were poetry. Then People started to write stories and they had literature gatherings to share their poems and stories. Before Cangjie invented Chinese writing the emperor used to record information by tying different knots in a rope. In ancient Chinese scrolls it says that Cangjie was inspired by a phoenix that was flying by and it dropped something that landed in front of him in a strange shape, he then asked a hunter near by what animal the object was from. The hunter said that it was a foot print of a rare beast, at that moment Cangjie had an idea to draw pictures that looked like what it meant. That’s how Ancient Chinese writing started.
Poetry started at around 1000 BC in china, it was a big thing at the time. One of the famous poems was called deer park, it was about a quiet place where nature would grow and the dears would live peacefully. Poems where one of the most famous and popular things in Ancient china. In ancient china only rich and proper people could write poems, because they consider poetry a proper thing. Some people would have gatherings and they would share poems and write new ones. Older people found poetry entertaining because it was peaceful.
There were many different responsibilities in Ancient china. At the top were the emperors then the nobles and religious leaders. Next were the warriors and scribes. A scribe’s responsibility would be writing religious scrolls for the king or writing stories/books. Usually scribes would write only important messages, but sometimes they would do other things for the emperors. Before scribes had paper to write on they would write on many different things like bones, bronze, and different types of wood. Crafters would help scribes by making the wood smooth so that scribes would be able to carve letters into them. Also Crafters would basically make the things that scribes and other people would need, But Crafters didn’t make everything. Blacksmiths would make the bronze and things that were made from metal. Scribes would also carve or melt letters into the bronze. In ancient china bronze was a precious thing so emperors would only let scribes write on it. Later on when crafters invented paper and ink scribes wouldn’t write on wood so much anymore, but they would still carve or melt words/letters in bronze.
The tools that people would use were knifes (for carving in wood), later on they used quilts and ink to write on paper. Scribes would get the best tools because they would write things for emperors, but villagers would get normal tools because they would write for fun or to make stories. People would carve letters into different types of wood and also some people would melt letters into bronze pots. Then when paper was invented in ancient china they started to write on paper a lot more than anything else. When melting letters into bronze they would heat up a rod then they would write slowly on the bronze they would have to keep reheating the rod because it wouldn’t stay hot forever. Also they had rods with letters on them so all you had to do was heat it up and stab the pot with it and there would be a letter melted. Using knifes to carve was pretty simple all you would have to do is put pressure on the knife then just carve the letter you are writing. When scribes did this they would use a hammer to make it neater.
When Chinese writing started it looked like the thing it meant. For example if a word meant fish then it would look a bit like a fish, but when writing started to develop it didn’t look like what it meant. Over the years people started coming up with ideas to improve their writing and make it, so that it would be faster to write, but I think that it got a bit more complicated. In Ancient china before they invented paper they would carve letters into different types of wood and they would brand letters into bronze and sometimes they would carve important messages on the shells of turtles.
Writing was a big impact on ancient china because when writing started, there was a way to communicate (from far away). They could keep track of events and time easily. With writing they were able to write laws, books, poetry, signs, numbers, decorations, and many other things. Writing was also used for religious purposes like writing scrolls and things like that.
What I have learned is that Chinese writing isn’t very simple and it has many uses. At first I thought that writing was something made up because the emperor told the person to do it, but I was wrong because the person who started Chinese writing (Cangjie) was inspired by a bird in the sky. Also I learned that when Chinese writing first started it looked like the thing it meant, but as it started to develop it got more complicated to write and easy to remember.
Chinese people would write special things on turtle shells, because turtle shells were very rare, beautiful and rare. People who liked to write would go to literature gatherings and they would write poems together and share stories. Religious messages would be written on bones and bamboo. Only the rich where allowed to write for fun. Scribes where the people who wrote for a living.
Images Pictures (slide 1, 2, 3, and 4) Encarta kids Other images www.cultural-china.com www.chinese-unicorn.com www.arts.cultural-china.com www.commons.wikimedia.org www.bjchinese.bjedu.cn www.360gamercast.com
Bibliography “Ancient Chinese Writing.” world book student. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2010. <http://www.worldbookonline.com>. Ancientcivilizations.co.uk. British museum, n.d. Web. 1 Jan. 2004. <http://www.ancientcivilizations.co.uk/home_set.html>. The Great China Chase. discovery education ancient china. Web. 19 Mar. 2010. <http://www.discoveryeducation.com>. Haberman, Arthur. Civilization: A Cultural Atlas. Vancouver: Gage Educational, 1994. Print.