Writing Technologies of the Near and Far East


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Professor Mindy McAdams's presentation about the invention of paper, Chinese language, Indian scripts and Arabs in Samarkand.

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Writing Technologies of the Near and Far East

  1. 1. Writing Technologies In the Near and Far East Presentation by Mindy McAdams MMC 2265 Week 4, Thursday
  2. 2. Early Writing in China <ul><li>“ Oracle bones” are at least as old as 1200 B.C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>Some have been dated to more than 7,000 years ago </li></ul><ul><li>Turtle shells and animal bones were used to predict the future </li></ul>
  3. 3. Writing on Wood and Bamboo c. 550 B.C.E.
  4. 4. Writing on bamboo slips may have begun as early as 1800 B.C.E. and continued until about 256 C.E.
  5. 5. <ul><li>“ But silk being expensive and bamboo heavy, these two materials were not convenient” (p. 86) </li></ul><ul><li>Paper invented in China in 105 C.E. (or maybe 49 B.C.E. ?? ) </li></ul><ul><li>Made from tree bark, rags, cloth fibers, fish nets, and also some plant fibers, e.g. hemp, bamboo </li></ul>Lao Tzu, 6 th century B.C.E.
  6. 6. <ul><li>There are more than 47,000 hanzi (Chinese characters); literacy requires 3,000–4,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Spoken Chinese has eight major dialects; Mandarin is spoken by about 70 percent of all Chinese speakers worldwide </li></ul><ul><li>All Chinese speakers can read the same texts </li></ul>Chinese Writing
  7. 7. <ul><li>The First Emperor of Qin unified China in 221 B.C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>He also standardized the writing system </li></ul><ul><li>Various states had their own different writing styles </li></ul><ul><li>The Qin script became the official style, and all states were required to use it </li></ul>
  8. 8. Islam and Papermaking <ul><li>The Prophet Muhammad died in 632 C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>Muslim armies set out to conquer the world, starting with the Arabic Peninsula </li></ul><ul><li>Pressing east, they conquered Persia </li></ul><ul><li>Farther east, they conquered much of Central Asia – almost to China’s border </li></ul><ul><li>Samarkand became a great center for manufacturing paper for export </li></ul>
  9. 9. The “Silk Road” – famed overland trade route (notice Samarkand ) Length: 5,000 miles
  10. 10. With 100 years of Muhammad's death. Islam had swept across the Near East, along the African coast and into Spain. It had reached its greatest extent by about 850 C.E. Samarkand is in present-day Uzbekistan
  11. 11. Religion and Writing <ul><li>A Chinese Buddhist, I Ching (635–713) traveled to India and Sumatra to translate scriptures from Sanskrit to Chinese </li></ul><ul><li>He encountered: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Block printing used by the Buddhist monks and priests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many stamped Buddha images on silk and paper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Duplication of religious texts, including duplicates made via rubbing </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. India and Pakistan <ul><li>South and east of Samarkand </li></ul><ul><li>Indus River Valley , in Pakistan </li></ul><ul><li>Another ancient civilization, with writing </li></ul><ul><li>Harappa, a small village founded </li></ul><ul><li>c. 3500 B.C.E., had grown into a great city </li></ul><ul><li>by 2600 B.C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>Population: As large as 50,000 (?) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Indus Valley location (top inset)
  14. 14. The ancient Indus script (seen here on fired clay seals) has not been deciphered
  15. 15. Hinduism and Writing <ul><li>Hinduism is at least 4,000 years old </li></ul><ul><li>Images of Hindu gods have been found in the Indus Valley excavations </li></ul><ul><li>The four Vedas are the earliest literature of Hinduism; they began as lengthy oral accounts and later were written </li></ul><ul><li>All ancient Hindu texts are written in Sanskrit (a spoken language) using a variety of writing systems </li></ul>
  16. 16. Sanskrit language written in various writing systems used today in India
  17. 17. Writing Technologies In the Near and Far East Presentation by Mindy McAdams University of Florida