Thursday, 24 June 2010

Words and Legends / 字的故事

I'm going to tell a legend to Karolina for return of her two stories. Base on her interests of postcard theme, I choose calligraphy art of traditional Chinese culture. This postcard is from National Taiwan University Faculties, Staff and Students Union Exhibition of Traditional Chinese Art. This year is the fourth time of the exhibition.

Traditional Chinese characters are truly treasures of east Asia. There are many races using them to write their spoken languages. Some races even have derivation characters for their own languages.

Legend of character creation is like this:

Cangjie, (pronounced like Ts'ang-chieh) was the saint who created Chinese characters. In the legends, he had four eyes and there are two pupils in each. This is usually one special feature of saints. He was the history keep officer of the Yellow Emperor. After unifying China, the Emperor needed to remember more things. So he was not satisfied with 'rope knot tying' method, and asked Cangjie to solve this problem.

One day, Cangjie thought of this issue along the riverside. A phoenix flew by and dropped a stick with one animal footprint. While He was wonder what animal made the print, a hunter walked by and told him, 'I can recognise all animals by their footprints'. The idea came into Cangjie's mind. Yes, he could use lines to record everything's feature stroke by stroke.

According to a history book, after he created characters, it rained millet from the heaven and ghosts cried at late night. It is because the nature could not hide its secret and the ghosts could not transform freely. People can write to record and describe.

The Chinese characters transformed several times. The fonts we use nowadays are similar with the ones our ancestors used 2,000 years ago. However, mainland China simplified characters in 1950's and now uses different fonts from Taiwan. We Chinese Taiwanese now still use traditional Chinese while Chinese in China use non-traditional.

The couplet is read like this:
The scenery of the country is good everywhere.
The rain and dew wash everything to a new look.





本片同時於官方交換活動中寄出。This postcard was also sent for postcrossing official card.

From: Taipei, Taiwan
Date: 26 May to 4 June , 2010
Sender: Dodd
To: Beatriz in Viseu, Portugal



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