Chinese Easy Readers

Chinese Characters: Pictograms

Pictograms, as the name suggests, were like pictures of what they represented - outlines of the objects indicated. In He’nan Province in central China, archeologists have found turtle shells and cow scapulas carved with characters that more than 3500 years old. A large number of these are pictograms. Although their pronunciations have changed significantly, the shapes of some pictograms have remained the same over thousands of years. If you click the PDF file attached to the source text, you can compare primitive pictograms with their contemporary counterparts.

日 (rì) 'sun'
月 (yuè) 'moon'
山 (shān) 'mountain'
水 (shuǐ) 'water'
木 (mù) 'wood, tree'
火 (huǒ) 'fire'
刀 (dāo) 'knife'
田 (tián) 'field'
人 (rén) 'man'
女 (nǚ) 'woman'
子 (zǐ) 'child'
口 (kǒu) 'mouth'
手 (shǒu) 'hand'
足 (zú) 'foot'
心 (xīn) 'heart'
目 (mù) 'eye'
竹 (zhú) 'bamboo'
门 (mén) 'door'


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