12 Chinese Astrology Animals Oracle Bone Characters
The following are Chinese pictographic characters for 12 Chinese horoscope animals found in the Chinese Oracle Bones. Ox and Sheep were drawn using the image of head. Other 10 animals are the drawings of the entire bodies. These animal symbols were carved into animal bones around 1300-1100 B.C.
Chinese Pictographic Character - Sheep
The following are four sample Chinese characters of the sheep. They are found in the history of the development of Chinese characters and calligraphy.
The first character is from the Bronze Vessel inscriptions, which are the earliest pictographic characters in the Chinese history. Bronze Vessel inscriptions were used around 1500-1100 B.C. Also, different pictographs of horses were found. Some Chinese scholars still believe that the horse character should develop from the symbols of before the Bronze Vessel inscriptions.
The second character is from the Oracle Bone inscriptions, around 1300-1100 B.C. Many Chinese basic characters are developed from here. Oracle Bone characters were simplified the drawing lines from Bronze characters. More than one sheep inscriptions were also found. We can see the drawing of the head of ram in the sheep characters.
The third character is a Small-Seal script, 206 BC-AD 220 '200 B.C. It simplified and unified the Large-Seal characters, about 800 B.C. The last character is the current script, since 1950 A.D. There are different handwriting types for sheep invented in the Chinese calligraphy.
About Chinese Characters
Deer on Bronze Vessel
The earliest Chinese characters are found on the bronze vessels, not the tortoise shells and animal bones. Just like ancient Egyptian characters, Chinese earliest characters are pictographic characters. Unlike many countries develop their pictographic characters into phonetic characters, Chinese retain the pictographic, ideographic and phonetic characters together.
There are six types of Chinese characters.
Pictographic characters are symbols with simple drawing lines according to the object's shape or characteristic. For example, the Mountain character comes from . The following characters are sun, moon, mountain, water (river), bird and horse. They were developed from left to right.
Ideographic characters are abstract and self-explanatory symbols. For example, the Up character comes from and the Down character comes from .
Logical Aggregate characters combine two different meanings of characters as a new meaning. For example, the Small character on the top and the Big character on the bottom become Sharp Point character .
Phonetic characters are combining characters and one of the characters is for the pronunciation. For example, the Sleep character is combined by characters Eye and Drop . The Eye character is from and the Drop character is the sound to pronounce.
Invented (transformation) characters extend a meaning of a character to a related concept.
Borrowing characters give an unrelated meaning to a character by borrowing the same pronunciation character.