Chinese Script Exhibition

May 21, 2015

Mister P

There was a whole section of Chinese art and history in the Tokyo National Museum, I went up to take a look.

Before I show you the script exhibition, I thought these examples of Chinese pottery were worth taking a gander at


Cool animal figures, and the intricate carvings on the surface


Snail on the top.


Dragon bell.

So the Chinese script exhibition was interesting to me because it’s an example of a complex and traditional way to communicate, these examples are all from around the 8th century. It’s also interesting to me that this ‘Eastern’ way to write and communicate is completely different to the way that latin and in turn English/French/German and other ‘Western’ writings developed. Even though the pictorial aspect, where symbols mimic the things that they are supposed to mean, seems to be intuitive in the very simple instances. See if you can spot the ancient symbol for a person here


They do get a lot more complicated if you’re trying to communicate something intricate. Pictures have to be combined. Take mother for a very simple example. Mother can be expressed as mā, and mā is written with a female character and a horse character. Before you get offended horses were considered very special animals when these methods were devised. Without a horse a man could not travel the great distances that he sometimes needed to travel, the horse helped him out and was a partner for life. Hence, the word for mother contains a female and a horse.

These examples were printed for the Buddhist temples of the time. I think they’re fantastic, they were also about three times the height of me.



This one is for an initiation of a monk in the 8th century


I also saw some outstanding embroidery


Nice one China.