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Bamboo (wood) slips (木簡, もっかん, mokkan)

Mini2:b1_bamboo_slips.jpg"Bamboo Slips: | Mokkan (木簡,もっかん), early Han dynasty (前漢, 206 B.C. – 8 C.E.) clerical script (隷書, れいしょ, reisho), 2nd century B.C. Note the characteristic for mokkan slips writing extended finishing stroke of the character 令 (れい, rei, i.e. “command”, “decree”, “orders”)."

Narrow planks of bamboo or other wood, on which text was written with brush and ink. It was a popular way of recording information in eastern territories of ancient Asia, but mainly China. Mokkan were used already during the Shang (商朝, 1600 – 1046 B.C.) and Zhou (周朝, 1046 B.C. – 256 B.C.) dynasties, then right through to the Jin dynasty (晉朝, 265 A.D. – 420 A.D.). Bamboo and wood (many experts and historians also suggest silk) were the prevailing writing materials for some 2000 years. This period has come to be known in Chinese history as the “Age of the Bamboo Slips”. Together with invention of paper around 265 B.C. and its growing popularity, especially throughout Tang dynasty (唐朝, 618 - 907), use of mokkan gradually decreased. Writing on mokkan was performed vertically, and since most of the slips were narrow and long, the shape of certain characters was deformed. It is especially visible in transcriptions of early clerical script (隷書, れいしょ, reisho) during the Warring States period (戰國時代, 475 – 221 B.C.).

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Page last modified on December 12, 2011, at 06:21 AM