Chinese character is one of the oldest continually used writing systems which is still in use today. In 2003, some 16 isolated symbols carved on tortoise shells had been discovered at Jiahu, an archaeological site within the Henan province of China, some bearing a striking resemblance to certain modern characters. Considering that the Jiahu internet site dates from about 6600 BC, it predates the earliest confirmed Chinese writing by more than 5,000 years. Some scholars have suggested that these symbols had been precursors of Chinese writing, but most preserve that the time gap is too great for a connection.
Replica of an ancient Chinese oracle bone
The earliest normally accepted examples of Chinese writing date back to the reign of the Shang Dynasty king Wu Ding in the later part of the second millennium BC. These were divinatory inscriptions on oracle bones, mainly ox scapulae and turtle shells. Characters were carved on the bones in order to frame a query; the bones had been then heated over a fire along with the resulting cracks had been interpreted to determine the answer. Such characters are named 甲骨文 jiǎgǔwén
"shell-bone script" or oracle bone script.
From the late Shāng Dynasty, Chinese writing evolved into the form found in cast inscriptions on Chinese ritual bronzes made during the Western Zhou Dynasty (c 1066–770 BC) and the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC), a kind of writing called 金文 jīnwén
"metal script". Jinwen characters are less angular and angularized than the oracle bone script. Later, in the Warring States Period (475–221 BC), the script became still more standard, and settled on a form, named 六國文字/六国文字 liùguó wénzì
"script of the six states", that Xu Shen used as supply material within the Shuowen Jiezi. These characters had been later embellished and stylized to yield the seal script, which represents the oldest type of Chinese characters still in contemporary use. They are utilized principally for signature seals, or chops, which are frequently utilized in spot of a signature for Chinese documents and artwork. Li Si promulgated the seal script as the normal via the empire in the duration of the Qin dynasty, then newly unified.
Seal script in turn evolved into the other surviving writing designs; the very first writing style to comply with was the clerical script. The development of such a style can be attributed to those from the Qin Dynasty who were seeking to create a convenient type of written characters for day-to-day usage. Generally, clerical script characters are "flat" in look, becoming wider than the seal script, which tends to be taller than it is wide. Compared with all the seal script, clerical script characters are strikingly rectilinear. In running script, a semi-cursive type, the character elements begin to run into one another, although the characters themselves usually remain separate. Running script ultimately evolved into grass script, a totally cursive type, in which the characters are usually entirely unrecognizable by their canonical forms. Grass script gives the impression of anarchy in its look, and there's indeed considerable freedom on the part of the calligrapher, but this freedom is circumscribed by conventional "abbreviations" within the forms from the characters. Typical script, a non-cursive form, may be the most extensively recognized script. In normal script, each and every stroke of every single character is clearly drawn out from the other individuals. Even though the running and grass scripts seem to be derived as semi-cursive and cursive variants of regular script, it is in reality the typical script that was the final to develop.
Typical script is viewed as the archetype for Chinese writing, and forms the basis for most printed forms. Furthermore, normal script imposes a stroke order, which have to be followed in order for the characters to be written properly. Hence, for example, the character 木 mù "wood" must be written starting with the horizontal stroke, drawn from left to right; subsequent, the vertical stroke, from top to bottom, with a little hook toward the upper left in the end; subsequent, the left diagonal stroke, from top to bottom; and lastly the proper diagonal stroke, from top rated to bottom..