Chinese writing is one of the oldest and most used in the world, and it is also one of the most fascinating. The first form of Chinese characters was found in the site of Banpo.
Chinese handwriting was originally pictographic, that means words, phrases or ideas were represented by a picture, a pictorial resemblance to a physical object or idea.
The systematization of Chinese handwriting happened during XVI century B.C. , under the Shang dynasty. During this period characters were written on animals bones and turtle shells. With the invention of bronze fusion, characters began to be engraved on ritual objects made of bronze.
In 221 B.C. emperor Qin Shi Huang decided to unify writing, so Prime Minister Li Si worked on the first Chinese unified writing, which was esthetically beautiful, but way too meandering and not practical. So, later was invented the Administrative Style, which was easier and transformed many pictograms in ideographic or symbolic signs.
A little time after Administrative Style was born, Caoshu style was invented, which was used by officials of the State in their free time and by commoners. It is characterized by a fast and personalized writing.
In II century A.D., State chancellors created a new style, called Kaishu, which was similar to the Administrative one but was clearer and less elaborated.
To find a novelty in Chinese writing we have to wait until 1956, when Chinese Government decided to simplify the writing in order to facilitate the literacy of the population and the famous “pinyin” was introduced.
by Carolina Giannessi