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Chinese Culture中国文化

Chinese characters

Chinese characters were initially meant to be simple pictures used to help people remember things. After a long period of development, it 
finally became a unique system that embodies phonetic sound, image, idea, and rhyme at the same time. The writing system, which was extremely advanced in ancient times, began with inscriptions on tortoise shells, and these are regarded as the original forms of Chinese characters. Afterwards, Chinese characters went through numerous calligraphic styles: bronze inscriptions, official script, regular script, cursive script, running script, etc. Chinese characters are usually round outside and square inside, which is rooted in ancient Chinese beliefs of an orbicular sky and a rectangular Earth.
The five basic strokes of Chinese characters are “—” (the horizontal stroke), “︱”(the vertical stroke), “丿”(the left-falling stroke), “丶”(the right-falling stroke), and “乙”(the turning stroke).
And horizontal and vertical are the most important strokes in Chinese.They are the supporters in characters as the bones of a bady and the beams of a house. So in writing, the horizontal should be level, the right end is a silghtly higher than that of left; vertical is usually upright. If the horizontal is not smooth, or the vertical is not upright, the character is lean, which gaves an impression that the character is not balanced and will fall down. Therefore smooth horizontal and upright vertical (横平竖直héng píng shù zhí) is the first rule to keep in mind in writing a character.