What is pictographic writing? – Creation, characteristics and examples of this writing

Since the beginning of humanity, man has always sought to communicate, communication is essential in human culture. The way to express ideas is sought and that these are maintained over time. At first, different materials such as stones and clay were used to communicate. For this reason, the great civilizations sought from the beginning to express their thoughts through symbols, in this way the pictographic writing arises, which is believed to be born in the Neolithic.

What does the term pictographic writing mean?

Pictographic writing focuses on pictures, not words like automatic writing. They are drawings made by the hand of man where different facts and contents are expressed through them without using the linguistic form. It is a means of communication in which through drawings ideas, thoughts or phrases are communicatedneither letters nor sounds are used.

It is important to note that in the pictography there are several types, such as the ideographic in which its symbols use conventional signs to provide more information. There is also the figurative, which expresses only the desire of the embodied drawing, as signs. Finally, there is the logographic where symbols communicate ideas and concepts.

When was pictographic writing created? – Origin

The beginning of pictography goes back to the Neolithic, where it was very common to paint certain animals and objects on rocks. It constitutes a primitive means of communication, in which one could easily understand its meaning.

The origin of pictographic writing dates back to Mesopotamia, the pictography marked history, according to studies it is believed that current writing methods were based on pictography. In those ancient times, feathers called stilettos were used to draw signs and symbols. At first, two systems were used in Mesopotamia, drawings were made and these were later added other strokes to continue the meaning, later the current pictography advanced and remained in the past.

For its part, Egyptian culture developed the hieroglyphic system from pictography. Both Egyptian and Chinese culture used these methods, the Chinese used the logographic type of pictography. Thus, when the message was complex, two or more signs were used simultaneously and that’s where the ideography came from.

Subsequently, the principle of cuneiform writing arises, which deals with pictorial signs made on clay tablets. The method was based on numbers through signs in the form of angles, then the signs were represented and next to it a symbol with the concept.

What are the characteristics of pictographic writing?

The essential feature is that writing is represented through a language of drawings, this type of writing is universal, all people recognize it. The pictograph was very practical, since it allowed us to understand the symbols just by looking at them, without using linguistics and phonetics. pictograph works based on symbols that mean ideas or objects.

Frequently, in earlier times they were drawn on stones and are called petrograms or better known as rock art, when they were made on the ground they were called hieroglyphs. Another common surface to make them was on trees and animal skin. With the advancement of society clay was used and finally paper.

Another important feature is that its symbols are determined and precise, there are no inconclusive symbols. It is a form of graphic expression, people understand the meaning of the symbol without the requirement of speaking the same language. Today the pictogram is used frequently, more than anything as a means of signs that add quick meaning to the drawing.

What is the difference between pictographic and hieroglyphic writing?

The relationship between the two scripts is broad, pictographic writing, as mentioned above, is a language expressed based on drawings and signs, they represent objects and things. They are standardized symbols that do not use phonetics or linguistics. In contrast, hieroglyphic writing is born from pictography, they are a form of pictographic writing. It was developed by the Egyptian culture and uses ideographic elements in conjunction with phonetic elements that manifest one or more sounds.

While in the pictographic writing there is the ideographic, figurative and logographic type, in contrast in the hieroglyphic writing there are the phonograms, ideograms and determiners. Distinguishing both writings in their methods. The phonograms only represent sounds, while the pictograph only represents a content in itself, an object, a thing, even a sentence.

Examples of pictographic writing

At present this type of writing is still in use, although no longer predominantly, now writing and reading through the language is used as a means of communication. However, clear examples of pictography are seen day after day, a classic and usual example today is the symbol to mark the bathrooms with “women” and “men” or the symbols to represent the type of gender “male and female”.

In a usual way, the examples are used to give instructions, information and signals, such as the example of transport with pictures such as the bus, the plane and the train. Another classic example in computers and cell phones are icons, where pictograms are defined through drawing, expressing that function type and service represents the icon.

In ancient times the practice of pictographic writing was seen a lot, it was used in Mesopotamia, where an example were drawings, they were objects, animals or people. In America, the Maya people used the use of logograms as an example. The Aztecs used them to represent religious events and placesThese pictograms are known as “Mexica codices”. In addition, that paleography is in charge of studying it.

Without a doubt, the legacy left by pictography is impressive and how it allowed communication in prehistory. Giving way to other forms of communication, such as written and verbal communication that we currently know. Undoubtedly, it is of great relevance to know how the representation of symbols of pictographic writing.

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