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Small Seal Script (
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
: , ''xiǎozhuàn'') or Qin Script (, ''Qínzhuàn''), is an archaic form of
Chinese calligraphy Chinese calligraphy is the writing of Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of ...
. It was standardized and promulgated as a national standard by the government of
Qin Shi Huang Qin Shi Huang (, ; 259–210 BCE), or Shihuangdi, was the founder of the Qin dynasty, and first Emperor of China, emperor of a unified China. Rather than maintain the title of "Chinese king, king" ( ''wáng'') borne by the previous Shang dyna ...
, the founder of the Chinese
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of ever ...

Qin dynasty
.


Name

Xiaozhuan, formerly
romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspec ...
as Hsiao-chuan, is also known as Seal Script, Lesser Seal Script.


History

Before the Qin conquest of the six other major
warring states The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period#REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period The Spri ...
of Zhou China, local styles of
characters Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * Character (novel), ''Character'' (novel), a 1936 Dutch novel by Ferdinand Bordewijk * Characters (Theophrastus), ''Characters'' (Theophrastus), a classical Greek set of char ...

characters
had evolved independently of one another for centuries, producing what are called the "Scripts of the Six States" (), all of which are included under the general term "
Great Seal Script Large Seal script or Great Seal script () is a traditional reference to Chinese writing from before the Qin dynasty (i.e. before 221 BCE), and is now popularly understood to refer narrowly to the writing of the Western and early Eastern Zhou Dynas ...
." However, under one unified government, the diversity was deemed undesirable as it hindered timely communication, trade, taxation, and transportation, and as independent scripts might be used to represent dissenting political ideas. Hence, Emperor
Qin Shi Huang Qin Shi Huang (, ; 259–210 BCE), or Shihuangdi, was the founder of the Qin dynasty, and first Emperor of China, emperor of a unified China. Rather than maintain the title of "Chinese king, king" ( ''wáng'') borne by the previous Shang dyna ...
mandated the systematic unification of weights, measures, currencies, etc., and the use of a standard writing script. Characters which were different from those found in Qin were discarded, and the Qin's small seal characters became the standard for all regions within the empire. This policy came in about 220 BC, the year after Qin's unification of the Chinese states. Diringer, David.
982 Year 982 ( CMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday A common year starting on Sunday is any non-leap year A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or wikt:bissextile, bissextile year) is a calendar year that contains an addition ...
(1982). ''The Book Before Printing: Ancient, Medieval, and Oriental.'' Courier Dover Publications. .


Standardization

The standardized use of small seal characters was promulgated via the
Cangjiepian The ''Cangjiepian'', also known as the ''Three Chapters'' (, ''Sancang''), was a BCE Chinese Primer (textbook), primer and a prototype for Chinese dictionary, Chinese dictionaries. Li Si, Chinese chancellor, Chancellor of the Qin dynasty (221-206 ...
, a primer compiled by Qin Shi Huang's ministers. This compilation, stated to contain 3,300 characters, is no longer extant, and is known only through Chinese commentaries through the centuries. Several hundred characters from fragmented commentaries were collected during the Qing period, and recent archeological excavations in
Anhui Anhui (; Postal romanization, formerly romanized as Anhwei) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, part of the East China region. Its provincial capital and largest city is Hefei. The province is l ...

Anhui
, China, have uncovered several hundred more on bamboo strips, showing the order of the characters. However, the script found is not the small seal script, as the discovery dates from Han times.


Unicode

Small Seal Script has been proposed for inclusion in
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

Unicode
. The 723-page proposal from 2015 lists much of the then-known examples of Qing dynasty commentary images. This topic remains under discussion by Unicode's working group as of April 2020.


See also

*
Seal script Seal script () is an ancient Chinese script styles, style of writing Chinese characters that was common throughout the latter half of the 1st millennium BC. It evolved organically out of the Bronze script, Zhou dynasty bronze script. The Qin (s ...
*
Large seal script Large Seal script or Great Seal script () is a traditional reference to Chinese writing Written Chinese () comprises Chinese characters used to represent the Chinese language. Chinese characters do not constitute an alphabet or a compact syllab ...


References


External Links


Topical Document List: Seal Script
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

Unicode
* Lookup of seal script is available through some online dictionaries. See th
KU libraries
guide for examples. {{list of writing systems Qin dynasty Obsolete writing systems Chinese script style History of the Chinese script