The Chinese characters seen nowadays didn’t always look the same way. Some of these words began as pictograms, but slowly evolved over a long period of time. In modern times, there are 47,035 documented Chinese characters in total. Studies have shown that out of those 47,035 characters, many magazines, newspapers, and people in general only use 3,500 basic characters. While some see this language as complicated and hard to learn, I find that it might be a little easier when you can visualize the origin of the words since the words usually look exactly like their definitions.
These pictographs were believed to first have appeared during the Late Neolithic Age and around the same time when Egyptians and the Sumerians existed, but only the Chinese characters still exist to this day. The words began as etchings about 6,000 years ago and became a more prominent part of ancient Chinese culture. They etched these pictograms everywhere, including pottery and earthenware.
The most sophisticated and recognizable forms of Chinese characters were dated back to the Shang Dynasty. During this time, people took the drawings and shaped them to make them look a little simpler and different. The first type of Chinese writing was called the Oracle Bone Inscriptions. This script was etched onto turtle shells and animal bones, then heated to form the cracks that resemble the character. There were many other forms of ancient Chinese writing developed in the years after, but there were only six more that were considered main forms of script. They were known as following: Bronze Inscriptions, Small Seal Characters, Official Script, Regular Script, Cursive Writing, Grass Stroke Characters, and Freehand Cursive.
Here are a few examples of what I have been talking about this whole entire piece.
This character to the left means car. The brown colored drawing is the origin of the Chinese word, and depicts a cart from above. You can kind of see the resemblance between the two, can’t you?
This character on the right side has the meaning of moon, which you can tell by the picture next to it. The drawing shows a crescent shaped moon, which has highly valued back then.