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Mini2:figure_1_kanji_etymology_yama.jpg"Pictograph: | Various forms of the character 山 in oracle bone script (甲骨文, こうこつぶん, kōkotsubun, c.a.1600 B.C. – 800 B.C.), Chinese character of a pictographic origin."

Also known as pictograms. A symbol or a character that conveys a meaning through pictorial resemblance to a physical object. The Chinese writing system contains a fairly small quantity of pictograms that have survived through thousands of years, to modern times. They are known as shōkeimoji (象形文字, しょうけいもじ). In Japanese, 象形 means a “pictograph” (also hieroglyph), and 文字 means “characters”. Essentially they were pictures or diagrams representing physical objects. Some of the examples of pictographs in Chinese writing system are: 木 (き, ki, i.e. “tree”), 目 (め, me, i.e. “eye”), or even 馬 (うま, uma, i.e. “horse”), (やま, yama, i.e. "mountain"), etc. Shōkeimoji are the oldest Chinese characters that exist.

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Page last modified on January 23, 2012, at 09:01 AM