Bamboo Slip Texts and Development of Chinese Writing——2019世界木材日研讨会
国际木文化学会 | 1059 view(s) | 2019/08/20
Emeritus Professor, Iowa State University, USA
摘要：Ancient artefacts and archaeological studies have shown that the earliest Chinese words were engraved on turtle shells and animal bones dated to Shane dynasty from 1,700 to 1,000 BC. The simple and rectilinear characters are called oracle bone inscriptions, which were replaced by more complicated ones casted on bronze vessels of early Zhou dynasty from 1,000 to 500 BC. Characters were brush-inked on bamboo slips from the warring period of late Zhou dynasty (500 to 220 BC) until late Han dynasty (200 AD). Chinese writing was unified during the short Qin dynasty (221 to 206 BC), and words were written in a more complicated and artistic form, called the seal script, developed from the style casted on bronze vessels. The Li (replacement) script, which is much easier for writing than the seal script, was developed in Han dynasty (200BC to 200AD). Finally, the Kai (square) script has been used since about 1,000 years ago. The Chinese culture flourished in the central plain between two rivers around the present-day Henan Province (btw 30o and 35o N) when the climate was warm during the Roman Warming Period. Abundant bamboo plants in the area at the time made bamboo slips ideal for writing and documentation. The first book of Chinese chronicle, the Records of Grand Historian, completed in 94 BC was written on bamboo slips. The Chinese word 冊means book since it was made by stringing several written bamboo slips side-by-side; when sheets of stringed slips are rolled up into bundles (卷), each roll becomes one volume. Bamboo slips were boiled before machined to appropriate sizes for removing starch grains and releasing growth stresses to avoid insect damages and warps during storage. Bamboo slips may survive for a long time under conditions at less than 20% and more than 80% in moisture content, and written letters may remain legible because the wood tar and charcoal powder-based ink is stable in the air and water insoluble. Bamboo slips eventually completed their role when paper and woodblock printing were invented in late Han dynasty (100 to 200 AD).