To learn how to write hieroglyphics, you need a lot of training and special Chinese writing paper is a very important tool in that. Children at school spend years practicing. Starting from simple to complex, below you will find the rules on how to write Chinese hieroglyphics, using the special paper.
For example, there are a couple of types of exercise books for toddlers and those who teach Chinese:
- The training ones. This paper contains the examples of hieroglyphs, the order of their writing, the pale print of these very hieroglyphs, which you need to use to write your own hieroglyphs, as well as empty space where you need to write hieroglyphs yourself.
- The empty ones. This type of paper is a notebook that contains empty cells 1.5 x 1.5cm crossed cross by cross and diagonally for training the writing of the characters.
Main rules of how to write hieroglyphics
The main rules of how to write hieroglyphics include:
- Horizontal strokes are written first, and then you need to write the vertical and the falling ones.
- First, write down the stroke falling to the left, and then the stroke falling to the right.
- Hieroglyphs must be written from the top down.
- Write from left to right.
- At first, the external outlines of the hieroglyph are written, then the dashes inside it are written.
- The line that closes the hieroglyph contour from below is written last.
- Draw a central vertical line first and then lateral features.
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The educated person needs to know several thousand hieroglyphs and they all consist of basic elements. If you master all the rules, you can write even the most complex hieroglyphs.
Paper used for writing in Ancient China
In Ancient China, one of the most ancient states, many inventions were discovered that influenced the further development of human civilization. Compass, silk, gunpowder, and seismograph are just some of the many inventions of the Ancient Chinese state. But the most famous and most significant discovery of the Chinese people is paper.
Writing in China was born a very long time, so there was a need to have something to write on. At first, bamboo strips, silk scrolls, wooden, and clay tablets were used for this purpose. All these materials were very heavy and inconvenient for writing, which made it impossible for them to be transported. Letters on wooden tablets were not stored for a long time because they quickly dampened. Therefore, their use was also not profitable. Silk is a very light material, on which it was convenient to write, but its price was very high, and it could only be afforded by the imperial dynasty or the officials close to the court.
The surprising fact is that in ancient times in China for writing, tortoiseshells and canines of wild boars were used. Such material was really convenient to scratch the hieroglyphs on, which, by the way, were more diverse than at the present time.
The emergence of the tradition of writing on paper in China
The paper of Ancient China is the greatest discovery that belongs to the imperial servant Cai Lun. He perfected the outdated technology of making rice paper, which was not a convenient means for writing, because it was very thin and often torn.
The main raw material for making paper was the tree bark. From the bark of the mulberry tree, Chinese writing paper was made, from sandalwood bark – a paper for books and documents belonging to the emperor and his family were made since such paper had a delicate and pleasant sandalwood flavor. Paper of Ancient China was also used for wallpapers.
Cai Lun thought a lot about how to make cheap paper to make it available to everyone. He knew about the method of making hashi, he knew that the cocoons of the silkworm turned into a fibrous mass, in the composition of which there were many plant fibers. So, he needed to find raw materials, which also contained a vegetable fiber. Many days passed in continuous search and, finally, Cai Lun found such raw materials. It was very cheap.
From the bark of trees, rags, and old fishing nets Cai Lun produced the world’s first real paper. This happened in 105 AD. In memory of the inventor, people called the paper Cai Hao-chih, which means the paper of the official Cai. The paper was widely used. True, for some time, the rich, trying to emphasize their privileged position in society, continued to write on Tso Chen and hashi, but gradually, by the 4th century AD, Mu Chen, Tso Chen, and hashi disappeared. Since from that time in China, the paper industry began to develop.
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Particularly famous for the manufacture of paper were Sichuan and Shanxi provinces. In the middle of the 8th century AD, an event occurred that contributed to the spread of paper making technology in other countries. The Chinese commander Gao Sen-chi started the war against the Arabs. His army consisted of 30 thousand foot and mounted soldiers. A fierce battle took place near Taros, which lasted five days. Chinese troops were defeated. The Arabs captured many prisoners, among whom were people who knew the secret of making paper. The Arabs forced them to build a paper mill and produce paper, which was then sold to other countries: Africa, Egypt, and Spain.
Gradually, the Chinese way of making paper penetrated into Europe. And in the 15th century, the paper industry became widespread in many European countries.
Paper making technology
The material was prepared by mixing several components, rubbing them together. A mixture of hemp, brought to boil, mulberries, worn fishing nets, and fabrics was mixed with each other, ground to a homogeneous mass, similar to gruel. The resulting mixture was placed in a sieve fixed on wooden frames, a layer of mass was applied and shaken so that the glasses were superfluous. The resulting sheets of paper left to dry in the sun. After drying, the paper of Ancient China was ready for later use.
Useful tools to learn Chinese hieroglyphs
Beginning to learn Chinese, students are faced with a shocking fact – in Chinese, there is no alphabet. There are only hieroglyphs and their Latin transcription (pinyin). At the same time, not having much experience with the Chinese language, one cannot know for sure what it means and how this or that hieroglyph is read. There is only one way out – to learn them.
Some of the difficulties, which initially arise for every student in the learning of Chinese hieroglyphs, may be overcome using the following useful tools.
- The most effective advice for the learning of hieroglyphics is the use of special Chinese writing paper. It can be different, depending on the age of the student. Experience shows that the hieroglyphs of students, who use Chinese paper instead of usual notebooks, are much more accurate and elegant.
- A more advanced equivalent of Chinese writing paper is special paper for calligraphy, on which you can write with water. You can write a hieroglyph with a brush dipped in water, and after a minute it will disappear from the surface. There are three advantages to such paper: they train memory, it is fun and interesting to work with them, especially for younger students, and they are convenient and economical because there is no need to print out the prescriptions and store them every time.
- The writing of hieroglyphs must necessarily be accompanied by the correct order of strokes as well as their direction. This is the key to the successful reproduction of hieroglyphs in the future, when the hand will remember the necessary elements. In addition, only the correct spelling of hieroglyphics is aesthetically pleasing. The teacher always explains the generally accepted rules of hieroglyphics and comments on writing more complex elements.
- Even the hieroglyphs that have been repeatedly written have the property of being forgotten. To avoid this, it is recommended that you recall them from time to time using a flash card system. To learn the keys (the constituent elements of the hieroglyph), it is advisable you to cut cardboard cards, where on the one hand the key will be written, and on the other hand – its meaning. Note that repetition is more effective when it is bilingual.
- Finding the meaning/pronunciation of the hieroglyph using a standard paper dictionary can take some time. The search for a hieroglyph on the screen is more convenient. The English-Chinese dictionary nciku supports this function when installed on Android and Apple platforms.
- In case you are looking for a hieroglyph by meaning/pronunciation, it is recommended to use electronic dictionaries.
- Entering the hieroglyph from the keyboard is done by installing the Chinese language in your workspace (computer, tablet, or phone).
- The input of the transcription of the Chinese language with the tone is supported by the pinyinput program. After installation, it will be displayed as an additional language in the language bar.
- The function of the floating translation of the hieroglyphs when hovering over them is supported by the MDBG Chinese reader program.
- Recognition of hieroglyphs on the image and conversion to text is carried out by the Shangshu OCR program.
The tools mentioned above will greatly simplify the first steps in learning the Chinese language. Using them, you will understand that the hieroglyphic language can be taught as easily and interestingly as the European languages using the Latin alphabet.
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