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Exhibition explores evolution of Chinese characters

By China Daily | | Updated: 2024-04-21 16:40
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Volunteers explained Chinese characters to guests at the "Evolution of Chinese Characters" exhibition in London on April 20. [Photo provided to China Daily]

An exhibition showcasing the evolution of Chinese characters was launched in London on Saturday, coinciding with the 15th United Nations Chinese Language Day.

The 10-day exhibition titled "Evolution of Chinese Characters" is jointly organized by the Chinese Embassy in the United Kingdom, Art and Design Press, the National Museum of Chinese Writing, the School of Foreign Languages (Tongji University) and the Beijing International Chinese College.

Chinese characters have played a significant role in the inheritance and development of Chinese cultural traditions. Their history can be traced back to at least the Xia Dynasty (c.21st century-16th century BC), with the discovery of oracle bone inscriptions in the 3,300-year-old Yin ruins of Anyang, China. Yin Ruins have been confirmed as the capital site of the late Shang (Yin) Dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC).

The oracle bone inscriptions have provided insights into the basic features of Chinese language and writing during the Shang Dynasty. Throughout history, the stable continuity of the Chinese character system has enabled the development and preservation of Chinese historical and cultural heritage in its pristine form.

Guests attending the opening ceremony of the exhibition included Minister Yang Xiaoguang and Minister Counselor Xia Yuzi from the Chinese Embassy in the UK, Qian Zhu, president and editor-in-chief of Art & Design Press, Wu Yun, a professor from the School of Foreign Languages (Tongji University) and British sinologist Frances Wood.

During the exhibition, visitors can participate in special events such as a lecture on Eastern and Western culture by Wu Yun on April 21, a seal-cutting experience guided by a professional from the China National Academy of Painting on April 24, a talk on diverse writing systems in China by Cheng Xunchang from the University of Reading on April 27, and a talk on traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese culture by Ke Songxuan, director of the Asante Academy of Chinese Medicine, on April 28.

Organizers said they hope the exhibition and these events help visitors gain a better understanding of the aesthetic charm of Chinese characters and Chinese culture.

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