The meaning of house number 3

There have been various stories about the origin of the Chinese script, with nearly all ancient writers attributing it to a man named Cangjie. Another story says that Cangjie saw the footprints of birds and beasts, which inspired him to create written characters.
Evidently these stories cannot be accepted as the truth, for any script can only be a creation developed by the masses of the people to meet the needs of social life over a long period of trial and experiment. A group of ancient tombs have been discovered in recent years at Yanghe in Luxian County, Shandong Province. The pictographs, the earliest forms of Chinese written characters, already possessed the characteristics of a script.
As is well known, written Chinese is not an alphabetic language, but a script of ideograms. The principle of forming characters by drawing pictures is easy to understand, but pictographs cannot express abstract ideas. Though pictographs and associative compounds indicate the meanings of characters by their forms, yet neither of the two categories gives any hint as to pronunciation. China is the only country in the world with a literature written in one language for more than 3,000 consecutive years. The characters stand for things or ideas and so, unlike groups of letters, they cannot and need never be sounded.
Since the early 1950s a system using the Latin alphabet, called Pinyin, has been developed in China, and it is now in common use.
Today Putonghua, which is based on Beijing-area Mandarin, is the official language of government and education, and everyone is expected to learn to speak it. Unlike other scripts with non-latin character sets, Chinese characters are virtually unlimited in number.
Chinese writing does not have an alphabet, instead, they are using symbols, or Chinese characters (hanzi in Chinese, kanji in Japanese). These characters are based on a phonetic instead of a semantic system, that is, their primary function is to represent not sound but meaning. Starting around the beginning of the Han dynasty (3rd century BC) the language started to use more and more words with two or more syllables but by that time the structure of writing has been already fully developed. The Shuowen jiezi, the first surviving Chinese dictionary complied by Xu Shen around 100 AD contains over 9,000 characters, the Kangxi zidian from the 18th century has nearly 47,000.
The discovery of the oracle bones in China goes back to 1899, when a scholar from Peking was prescribed a remedy containing "dragon bones" for his illness: "dragon bones" were widely used in Chinese medicine and usually refer to fossils of dead animals. The inscriptions on these bones tell us that by 1200 BC Chinese writing was already a highly developed writing system which was used to record a language fairly similar to classical Chinese. The oracle bone inscriptions received their name after their content which is invariably related to divination. Since the inscriptions are located on ritual vessels which were used for performing sacrifices, their content usually refers to ritual ceremonies, commemorations etc. The ding, originally a big cooking pot with three (rarely four) legs, became a ritual object and a sign of power, and the owning of such tripods, as 41 as their sizes and numbers, was a status symbol of the Shang slave-owning aristocrats.
Thus the inscriptions on the bronzes grew longer, from a few characters to a few hundred, from simple phrases to detailed accounts.
A priceless tripod is the Daynding (Large Tripod Bestowed upon Yu) dating from the early Zhou Dynasty (c. Another important bronze called Maogongding, now kept in Taiwan Province, belongs to the late Western Zhou.
The ancient bronzes reflect not only the high level that Chinese metallurgy attained in their time. Starting from about the fifth century BC, we begin to find examples of writings on bamboo strips.
The new media also means new content: along with historical and administrative writings, the bamboo strips contains the earliest manuscripts of famous Chinese philosophical texts, such as the Laozi, Liji, and Lunyu. The written language by this time is the so-called "classical Chinese" (wenyan) which had remained more or less the same as late as the 19th century. A major event in the history of Chinese script is the standardization of writing by the First Emperor of Qin who unified China in 221 BC. In museums of ancient history one often sees bamboo or wood strips written with characters by the writing brush.
Writing on bamboo or wood slips was done from top to bottom, with each line comprising from 10 to at most 40 characters.
Legend also extols the hard work of the First Emperor of the Qin of 2,200 years ago by telling that he had to peruse and comment on 60 kilograms of official documents every day.
Heavy and clumsy as they were, ancient books of bamboo and wood played an important part in the dissemination of knowledge in various fields.
Shigawen, the earliest Chinese script cut on stone, is kept in the Palace Museum (Forbidden City) of Beijing.
The "stone drums" were discovered in the Tang Dynasty (Al) 618-907) at Tianxing (present-day Baoji in Shaanxi Province) and caused a stir among men of letters and calligraphers. Before the invention of paper and printing, the best way in China to keep outstanding writings and calligraphic works was to carve them on stone. The dating of the set of stone drums under discussion was a subject of controversy over the ages. Before the invention of the art of printing, how did ancient Chinese preserve and disseminate their culture and art? These inscriptions are known as beiwen (writings on stelae) or, less common, shishu (stone books). To engrave a voluminous work or series of works would require thousands of stone tablets and generations of perseverance and painstaking work. In order to preserve the "stone books" of various periods, scholars in China started as early as 1090 (5th year of the Yuanyou Period under the Song Dynasty) to collect the stelae scattered around the country and keep them together at Xi'an.

The engravings on these stones cover a wide range of subjects-from the classics to works of calligraphy, from linear drawings to pictures in low relief.
The Forest of Stelae at Xi'an is not only a treasure house of Chinese literature and history but represents, a galaxy of the best calligraphers of different ages and schools, including all the different scripts-zhuan seal character, li (official script), coo (cursive) and kai (regular) -each with its representative works. The most valuable find of ancient silk writings was made in 1973 from an ancient tomb known as the No. They are the earliest maps in China, and in the world as well, that have been made on the basis of field surveys. Silk was considered in old China an exquisite material for writing on; some were pre-marked with lines in vermilion. To make rubbings from carved inscriptions was the earliest method of making copies in China before printing was invented. In ancient times, engravings were often made on stone of important imperial decrees, texts of Confucian classics, Buddhist scriptures, proved medical recipes as well as poems, pictures and calligraphic works by noted men of letters so that they may be appreciated and preserved for posterity. Cangjie, according to one legend, saw a divine being whose face had unusual features that looked like a picture of writings. Cangjie, if there ever was such a man, must have been a prehistoric wise man who sorted out and standardized the characters that had already been in use.
The pictophonetic method was developed to create new characters by combining one element indicating meaning and the other sound. Thus Chinese could be read by people in all parts of the country in spite of gradual changes in pronunciation, the emergence of regional and local dialects, and modification of the characters. The written language originally had no alphabet, but it was easily understood by literate people no matter what dialect they spoke. Most of the spellings of Chinese sounds and names in this article are based on the Pinyin system of romanization. The central government is also expanding the use of the Pinyin romanization system and is urging citizens to learn this alphabetized system of writing Chinese words. It seems that originally Chinese language was monosyllabic, in other words, words consisted only of a single syllable. The scholar noticed some carvings that looked like some kind of writing on the bones he acquired from the local pharmacy. Such a complex and sophisticated script certainly has a history but so far we found no traces of its predecessors. The ancient Chinese diviners used these bones as records of their activity, providing us with a detailed description of the topics that interested the Shang kings.
These are texts either casted into bronze vessels or carved into the surface of an already carved vessel. Although most of these writings consist of only a few characters, there are some which contain quite lengthy descriptions. Many bronze objects bearing inscriptions have been unearthed in China and can be seen in a large number of museums. It bears an inscription of 497 characters, the longest ever discovered on any bronze hitherto unearthed.
The inscriptions they bear may well be regarded as "books in bronze" which fill important gaps left by the scanty written history of that remote age.
Before writing the characters with a hard brush or a stick on the bamboo surface, the strips were prepared in advance and tied together with strings to form a roll. Before that time, each of the many states in China had their own style and peculiarities which meant that, although mutually comprehensible, the scripts had many deviations.
C.), a courtier and humorist, who wrote a 30,000 -character memorial to the Western Han Emperor Wudi, using more than 3,000 slips.
This may not be so astonishing as at first hearing, when one recalls that the passages were written on wood or bamboo slips. They were in circulation over a long period until gradually replaced by paper which was invented in the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 23-220).
It is in the form of inscriptions, on 10 drum-shaped stone blocks, of 10 poems of 4 character lines, depicting the ruler of a state on a big hunt. Those cut on drum shaped blocks are called shigawen (stone drum inscriptions); and those cut on steles and tablets are called beimen. Careful research made by archaeologists in recent years has led to the conclusion that they were engraved in the state of Qin during the Warring States Period (475-221 B.
The earliest examples so far discovered are a set of 46 stelae engraved with the Confucian classics after the handwriting of the great Eastern Han calligrapher Cai Yong, carved in Al) 175 or the fourth year in the reign of Xiping. By far the greatest work engraved on stone is the Dazangjing (Great Buddhist Scriptures), which comprises more than 14,000 tablets.
Today in the halls of the "Forest of Stelae" are 1,700 tablets of many dynasties from the Han down to the Qing - the greatest collection in China. They include the Thirteen Classics (Book of Changes, Book of History, Book of' Songs, the Analects, etc.), the basic readings required of Confucian scholars of past ages. Silk had advantages over the slips in that it was much lighter and could be cut in desired shapes and sizes and folded, the better to be kept and carried. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it was the fashion to weave the lines into plain white silk to be used exclusively for writing. The method followed is rather simple in principle paste a wetted piece of soft but firm paper (xuan paper is normally used) closely over the stone tablet or bronze and beat it lightly all over with the cushioned end of a stick so that the parts of paper over the cut hollows will sink in.
Among the large numbers of relics unearthed are about a dozen pottery wine vessels (called zun), which bear a character each. It is the use of characters, not letters as in Western languages, that is most important in the Chinese language. Those that are not are generally very familiar in their conventional form, such as the name Chiang Kai-shek. Mandarin, which is spoken in the Beijing region and in northern China generally, has four common tones.

Because of this, the number of elements in the script is not based on the number of sounds but on the number of words in the language. These are the so-called Oracle Bone Inscriptions (jiaguwen) which were found at the site of the last Shang capital near present-day Anyang, Henan province.
This lucky find led eventually to the discovery of Anyang, the last capital of Shang dynasty where archeologists have found an enormous amount of these carved bones. Most of these divinations refer to hunting, warfare, weather, selection of auspicious days for ceremonies, etc. The language and calligraphic style at this stage is similar to that found on the oracle bones. Later the tripods (and other bronzes) began to carry longer inscriptions stating the uses they were put to and the dates they were cast.
It is an account of how King Xuan admonished, commended and awarded Maogong Yin; it also reveals the instability of the Western Zhou regime at the time. The First Emperor introduced the Qin script as the official writing and from there on all the unified states had to use it in their affairs. C.) and lasted till the Eastern Han (AI) 25-220), extending over a period of 1,600 - 1,700 years.
The characters are written in a style called dazhuan (big seal character) and have been taken as the "earliest model of zhuan-style writing", important to the development and studies of Chinese calligraphy. It was only after the end of World War 11 that the "stone drums" were moved to Beijing for safekeeping. The carving of the stupendous collection began in the Sui Dynasty (581-618) and concluded about 1644, when the The Qing, extending over a thousand years, replaced Ming Dynasty! Many artists of today have carried on the ancient practice of painting and writing on silk.
With the bound book form, the rubbings become beitie (stele rubbings), which may be used either as models for calligraphy or kept in a collection for appreciation or research. After that, certain ancient accounts go on to say, millet rained from heaven and the spirits howled every night to lament the leakage of the divine secret of writing. Cantonese, spoken in southeastern China, has nine tones and is quite different from Mandarin. Another type of early Chinese script in its long history of development is represented by the inscriptions cast or carved on ancient bronze objects of the Shang and Zhou dynasties. Both tripods furnish rare and valuable information to throw light on the slave society under the Western Zhou. The calligraphic style of this period is the "clerical script" or lishu which is easily readable today even to the uninitiated. The historical Records, the first monumental general history written by the great historian Sima Qian (c.
These were dried by fire to be drained of the moisture of the natural plant to prevent rotting and worm- eating in future.
They were stood in front of the lecture halls of the then Imperial College in old 1 uoyang (the site of the 3rd-century town, a little to the east of today's Luoyang) as standard versions of the classics for the students to read or to copy from. This rare collection of books on stone is kept in 9 rocky caves on Shijingshan (Stone Scripture Mountain) in Fangshan County, southwest of Beijing. Their historical value may be easily imagined when one remembers that they are at least 2,100 years old. Then ink is applied by dabbing it on until the paper is turned into a copy with white characters or drawings on a black ground.
As inscriptions on bronze, stone or wood wear out with time, early rubbings made from famous pieces of work are more valued and cherished than the ones made later. They are therefore called pictographs and, in style and structure, are already quite close to the inscriptions on the oracle bones and shells, though they antedate the latter by more than a thousand years. It is called .Jinwen (literally, script on metal) and, as ancient bronzes arc generally referred to as zhongding (bells and tripods) it is also called zhongdingmen. C.) - the ducal states of Zheng and Jin had their statutes promulgated and cast on tripods. 5 kilograms, it has on its interior wall an inscription of 291 characters in 19 lines, by which King Kang summed up the experience in founding a new nation and drew lessons from the failure of the preceding Shang Dynasty. Many of the characters have disappeared or eroded by weathering, and one of the "drums" has even become completely devoid of any engraving.
For instance, Wuxingzhan describes the orbits of five planets (Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars and Saturn) and gives the cycles of their alignment, all with a precision far more remarkable than similar works that appeared later.
Rubbings are convenient and meaningful mementoes for foreign tourists to remind them of their China tours. The inscription also mentions that the King awarded his aristocrat follower Yu 1, 722 slaves of various grades and large numbers of carriages and horses. They turned out to be hand-written, though incomplete, copies of two of China's earliest books on military strategy and tactics The Art of War by Sun Zi and The Art of War by Sun Bin. Judging from those unearthed from ancient tombs, royal decrees and statutes were written on slips 68 cm long, texts of the classics on 56-cm-long slips, and private letters on 23 cm ones. Also found were three maps drawn on silk, showing the topography, the stationing of troops and the cities and towns of certain regions of China. So were other well known works of ancient China, including the Book of Songs (the earliest Chinese anthology of poems and songs from 11th century to about 600 B. The brush was used in writing and, in case of mistakes, the wrong characters would be scraped off by means of a small knife to allow the correct ones to be filled in. C.) and Jiazhang Suanshu (Mathematics in Nine Chapters completed in the 1st century AD, the earliest book on mathematics in the country).

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