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This script was etched onto turtle shells and animals bones, which were then heated until cracks would appear.

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These symbols are thought to be family or clan emblems that identify the ownership or provenance of the pottery or jades.

While these pictograms are not truly Chinese characters, they do bear some resemblance to the earliest Chinese characters.

Origin The common consensus is that writing in China evolved from earlier non-linguistic symbolic systems.

During the Late Neolithic period, at the latter half of the 3rd millenum BCE, many symbols or "pictograms" started to be incised on pottery and jades.

The Earliest Chinese Writing Whatever the obscure initial phase of written Chinese was, its appearance during the Shang dynasty already exhibited sign of a very complex system.

The earliest form of Chinese writing is called the oracle bone script, used from 1500 to 1000 BCE.

And at least in one instance an emblem, namely bird with a solar symbol, continues to be used as clan name in early Shang dynasty on bronze artifacts.

The prevalent thought is that at some point in time these symbols ceased to represent the objects they illustrate but instead came to represent the words of the objects.

In other words, the symbols acquired linguistic values and became logograms.

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