Cultural China Series: Chinese Characters

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Table of Contents
The Emergence of Written Language
Graphic Characters of the River Civilization
Origin of Han Characters
Legends in Ancient Time
Han Characters Originated from Drawings
Evolvement of Forms of Han Characters
Ancient Drawing—like Characters
Modern Characters Dissimilar to Drawings
Mainstream in the Development of Han Characters
Formation of Han Characters 53
Ancient Formation of "Six Categories"
Formation Methods for Han Characters
Form and Structure of Modern Han Characters
The Profound Mysteryof Han Characters
Causes of the Square Form of Han Characters
Perspective on Han Characters
Chinese History Narrated in Han Characters
Social Life in Ancient Time
Show of Ancient Civilization Sights
The Art of Han Characters
Calligraphic Art of Han Characters
Commercial—art Han Characters
Seal Art of Han Characters
Sample Pages Preview
The formation methods for Han characters were actually summarized after their appearance on the basis of the great number of ways in which they could be made.To learn the formation methods of Han characters is in fact to learn their structure.The formation methods are much more important than the evolution of their form, as the latter is only concerned with the physical act of writing, whereas the former decides the essential change of Han characters.In Shuowen Jiezi the author proposed the formation theory of "six categories", i.e.the six formation methods in people's common everyday language.In fact, there are only four formation methods for Han characters, i.e.the first four categories in the "six categories": pictograph, indication, associative compounds and indications of meaning and sound.The characters formed by the four methods are referred to respectively as pictographic characters, indicative characters, associative—compounds characters and pictophonetic characters.The first three indicate meaning by the use of form without any component suggesting pronunciation, and they are pure graphic characters.But the last kind are semi—graphic and semi—phonetic.Mutually explanatory characters are not important, but phonetic loan characters played an important role in the history of the development of Han characters.It is said by some people that the mutually explanatory characters and phonetic loan characters resulted in an expanded usage range for these characters, just like the formation of the characters themselves.
Cultural China Series: Chinese Characters