Ts'ang Chie's Formation of Words 仓颉文字的的形成

Legend has it that Ts’ang Chie is a historiographer of Yellow Emperor and the creator of Chinese characters. However, it is universally accepted that Ts’ang Chie is not the creator but possibly the trimmer of Chinese characters. The legend of Ts’ang Chie’s formation of words can reflect the forming characteristics of Chinese characters.

Ts’ang Chie’s formation of words is derived from "keeping records by tying knots" in ancient times. As the story goes, Ts’ang Chie began to keep records with signs such as trails of birds and beasts after he found that keeping records by tying knots could not meet people’s requirements any more. Being widely spread in the Warring States Period, the legend can be found in quite a lot of books such as Han Feizi (a Legist philosophical tractate by Han Fei of the Warring States Period), The Masters of Huainan (a me-taphysical collection of the Han Dynasty) and Analytical Dictionary of Chinese Characters. Ts’ang Chie is a historiographer characterized by abundant literary knowledge, responsibility for keeping records and high frequency in dealing with characters. He is hereby regarded as the representative of historiographers who regulated original Chinese characters.

As the unique existing memorial temple of character creation in China, Ts’ang Chie Temple was approved by the State Council as one of the historical and cultural relics under state protection in June 2001.

As the  primogenitor of Chinese characters, Ts’ang Chie played an imp0rtant role in the history of the world’s writings. On the copper gate at the main exit of John Adams Building (one of the three buildings of the Library of Congress,United States) enchased twelve legendary figures in different countries. They are said to be the persons who ever exerted influence on the world’s writings. The name of Ts’ang Chie is one of the twelve, with his statue being enchased in the eastern great copper gate (the second statue on the left part of the gate). Ts’ang Chie was awarded by the library the title of "Chinese patron of writing".

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