http://www.paulnoll.com/China/Culture/language-pictographs.html Chinese Characters have developed and evolved over time.
Addition image- http://plaza.ufl.edu/pzhu/project/project.htm From Penghua Zhu’s website.
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/chinese.htm Most linguists believe that writing was invented in China during the latter half of the 2nd millenium BC and that there is no evidence to suggest the transmission of writing from elsewhere. The earliest recognizable examples of written Chinese date from 1500-950 BC (Shang dynasty) and were inscribed on ox scapulae and turtle shells - &quot;oracle bones&quot;. In 1899 a scholar from Beijing named Wang Yirong noticed symbols that looked like writing on some &quot;dragon bones&quot; which he had been prescribed by a pharmacy. At that time &quot;dragon bones&quot; were often used in Chinese medicine and were usually animal fossils. Many more &quot;oracle bones&quot; were found in the ruins of the Shang capital near Anyang in the north of Henan province. The script on these &quot;oracle bones&quot; is known as çbçúï∂ (jia˘gu˘wén) - literally &quot;shell bone writing&quot;. They were used for divination, a process which involved heating them then inspecting the resulting cracks to determine to answers to one's questions. The bones were then inscribed with details of the questions and the answers. Most of the questions involved hunting, warfare, the weather and the selection of auspicious days for ceremonies. Further information about the oracle bones: http://www.chinapage.com/oracle/oracle00.html http://www.lib.cuhk.edu.hk/uclib/bones/bones.htm A collection of oracle bones in the National Palace Museum near Taipei. Recently archaeologists in China have unearthed many fragments of neolithic pottery, the oldest of which date from about 4800 BC, inscribed with symbols which could be a form of writing. None of these symbols resemble any of the Shang characters and the likelyhood of deciphering them is remote given the paucity of material.
There was a vigorous revival of Confucianism in the Song that dominated the schools and the civil-service-examination system, as well as political discourse. Contributing to the diverse intellectual life of the time was one of China's greatest poets, Su Shi (1037-1101); the historian and conservative political leader Sima Guang; and the leaders of the movement know in the West as Neo-Confucianism, which was to spread throughout East Asia. Confucianism provided a faith for people to live by, a convincing account of the natural and human world, and a theoretical framework for state and society. It emphasized self-cultivation as a path not only to self-fulfillment but to the formation of a virtuous and harmonious society and state. Some might emphasize one aspect more than the other, but ideally, learning to be a better and wiser person went hand in hand with service to the larger social body. http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/song/intellectual/confucian/confucian.htm _________________ The historical importance of education in Chinese culture is derived from the teachings of Confucius and philosophers of the middle and late Chou eras. Fundamentally, these philosophies taught that social harmony could be achieved only if humans were free from deprivation and given proper education. Confucius taught that all people possessed the same potential, and that education was the corrective means to curb any tendencies to stray from ethical behavior. From the very first, Confucius made education available to students from all classes. Education in China has thus been a equalizing force from ancient times. It became the means by which individuals from even the humblest backgrounds could rise to great heights. Through the ethics of Confucius which informed the traditional curriculum, it was also a powerful mechanism for implementing the ethical and social norms of Chinese society. We know with some certainty that a state system of education was founded during the Han Period the emperor Wu-ti in 124BCE. Students who were admitted to the T'ai hsueh or Great Academy were destined for careers in the civil service after they passed the internal exams and were competitively selected for various positions. Initially only fifty-five students were admitted to the Great Academy. By 8 BCE, the Academy had an enrollment of three thousand students. During the Han Dynasty (202BCE-220CE) provincial schools were established and the Confucian tradition of education was spread across China. As the Academy developed the connection between scholarship and the personality cult of Confucius also became established. The connection between Confucius and the official Chinese educational system thus became permanently linked right into the present time. The curriculum at the Great Academy was based on the Confucian Five Classics and classes were taught by professors of the Five Classics who were known as po-shih. The basis of Chinese education did not change throughout the imperial history till the reign of the last Ch'ing emperors. During the Ch'ing Dynasty (1644-1912) both state and private schools were developed and students were able to buy places into these schools. In contrast to western education, particularly in regard to the model of higher education in Medieval and Renaissance universities where students were encouraged to engage in disputation, traditional Chinese education consisted primarily of rote learning and memorization of the Classics. This formula became standardized by the seventh century CE. Candidates for the Civil Service Imperial Exams were required to memorize a vast amount of classical material and were never required to demonstrate the ability to either theorize or challenge a particular premise. The purpose of the scholar class after all was: the creation of bureaucratic generalists familiar with an accepted ethical outlook and body of knowledge, not with the growth of knowledge or with academic specialization.1 The very democratic nature of Chinese education--i.e., that it offered a path of upward mobility to anyone who could survive the rigors of study and examinations--was established from the first by Confucius himself. A traditional saying attributed to him states that &quot;those who work with their heads will rule, while those who work with their hands will serve.&quot; To that end, education thus became a strategy for survival in a country where poverty and hardship had challenged the lives of millions for countless millennia. http://www.csupomona.edu/%7Eplin/ls201/confucian2.html
http://www.paulnoll.com/China/Culture/language-Seal-script.html -image The lishu (official script) came in the wake of the xiaozhuan in the same short-lived Qin Dynasty (221 - 207 B. C.). This was because the xiaozhuan, though a simplified form of script, was still too complicated for the scribes in the various government offices who had to copy an increasing amount of documents. Cheng Miao, a prison warden, made a further simplification of the xiaozhuan, changing the curly strokes into straight and angular ones and thus making writing much easier. http://www.china-guide.com/arts/calligraphyrs.html -text
A character may consist of between 1 and 84 stokes. The strokes are always written in the same direction and there is a set order to write the strokes of each character. In dictionaries, characters are ordered partly by the number of stokes they contain. When writing Chinese, every character is given exactly the same amount of space, no matter how many strokes it contains. There are no spaces between characters and the characters which make up multi-syllable words are not grouped together, so when reading Chinese, you not only have to work out what the characters mean and how to pronounce them, but also which characters belong together. http://www.omniglot.com/writing/chinese.htm
Regarded as the most abstract and sublime form of art in Chinese culture, &quot;Shu Fa&quot; (calligraphy) is often thought to be most revealing of one's personality. During the imperial era, calligraphy was used as an important criterion for selection of executives to the Imperial court. Unlike other visual art techniques, all calligraphy strokes are permanent and incorrigible, demanding careful planning and confident execution. Such are the skills required for an administrator / executive. While one has to conform to the defined structure of words, the expression can be extremely creative. To exercise humanistic imagination and touch under the faceless laws and regulations is also a virtue well appreciated. By controlling the concentration of ink, the thickness and absorptivity of the paper, and the flexibility of the brush, the artist is free to produce an infinite variety of styles and forms. To the artist, calligraphy is a mental exercise that coordinates the mind and the body to choose the best styling in expressing the content of the passage. It is a most relaxing yet highly disciplined exercise indeed for one's physical and spiritual well being. Historically, many calligraphy artists were well-known for their longevity. http://www.china-guide.com/arts/calligraphyrs.html
01 chinese history classes-qin-language
Chinese Pictographs The development of the character wan (falling tone) (scorpion): from left to right, archaic Shang, oracle Shang, and modern. The development of the character yang (rising tone) (sheep): from left to right, archaic, small seal, and modern. Scorpion Sheep
Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can. i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
Oracle Bones The earliest Oracle Bone dates back 8,000 years ago
The 1 st was discovered in N. Hunan Province in 1899.
Since then, 150,000 more oracle bones have been found bearing more than 4,500 characters
A new discovery in Xanxi province reveals another 600 characters.
Confucianism Ask me about: Mencius vs. Xunxi! Confucianism provided a faith for people to live by, a convincing account of the natural and human world, and a theoretical framework for state and society. It emphasized self-cultivation as a path not only to self-fulfillment but to the formation of a virtuous and harmonious society and state. Some might emphasize one aspect more than the other, but ideally, learning to be a better and wiser person went hand in hand with service to the larger social body.
China’s First Emperor Qin Shi Huang (Shi Huangdi)
Emperor Qin Shi Huang Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.)
Significant Accomplishment: Irrigation The Dragon’s Spine.
This cursive style of calligraphy by Wen Zhengming (1470-1559) has been called "The Dance of the Brush." It is used as a means of artistic expression: the character itself is less important than its expressive quality .