Origin of Chinese Characters

When did Chinese characters originate? This question has interested Chinese calligraphers as well as linguists. No verifiable source was ever found in ancient Chinese history. Legend says that during the reign of the Yellow Emperor ( ) Tsung Jie ( 倉 頡 ) invented the Chinese characters. Calligraphy came with invention of the characters as the Chinese people found a beautiful way to write and began to appreciate the beauty. We may attribute the invention to 4,600 years ago, but this was only a legendary tale and may not be credible.  


Tao Wen (Pottery Inscriptions) One early character meaning "worship" written with brush and ink


Oracle Bone Inscription “Gia Gu Wen, or Jia Gu Wen ” was considered one the earliest kinds of Chinese characters that have been discovered. But Gia Gu Wen was not yet a fully mature written form from linguistic points of view. Artistically speaking, the brush strokes and structural beauty of Gia Gu Wen had set foundational and theoretical standards for the Art of Chinese Calligraphy from many artistic perspectives. Gia Gu Wen, indeed, is a major style of Chinese calligraphy. It would be ignorant not to consider Gia Gu Wen to be Chinese calligraphy.

The language discovered before Gia Gu Wen was Pottery Writing “Tao Wen  ”. Tao Wen was a language far more from mature. Actually it's hard to be considered a written language. People think there should be some transitional languages between Tao Wen and Jia Gu Wen. But no verifiable archaeological evidences have been discovered so far.

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Three samples of Gia Gu Wen & a poem by Dong Zuo-Bing, a famous Gia Gu Wen specialist


Early writings during the three ancient Chinese dynasties——Hsia, Shang, and Zhou


Ancient Chinese characters might have told stories of the Bible. Is it coincidence or design? Visit the following sites and find interesting stories.


















Links to more information about Oracle Bone Inscriptions:





Links to Egyptian Hieroglyphic writings:



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