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The Chinese writing is over 3000 years old. It consists of 50000 signs and 6000 signs are used today. These many signs are a problem of course, when someone will learn the Chinese language. The Chinese signs changed since their origin in the Shang dynasty (about 1600 BC - about 1050 BC) until the Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD). At the beginning these sign were pictures. With some lines people wrote the things they meant. For example the sign for mountains was a picture with three pointedly mountains. Since the Han dynasty there are only three vertical lines on one horitontal lines. In former times the sign for sun was round and since the Han dynasty it also looks different. In some cases it happens that a new sign was formed of some old signs. The Chinese recognized fast that wizards only invent things. So the sign for "lie" consists of the sign for "wizard" and the sign for "talk". Through this composition of two sign a new sign originates. Through many similiar combinations so many signs were made. It does not mean that every word only consists of one sign. Many words consists of two signs. There also words which consists of three or four signs. Until today calligraphy is very important in China and there are special schools were you can learn it. For masters of the Chinese calligraphy this art is a kind of meditation. Some masters often write the same sign a few thousand times to make it everytime better or different. These calligraphies are written with special brushes and black ink and they are real works of art.
Author and Webmaster: Lukas Czarnecki
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Last Update: 24.12.2004