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When Chinese and ancient Chinese characters meet on WeChat

(People's Daily Online)    11:10, January 23, 2018

Chinese oracle bone inscriptions over 3,000 years old are now being widely used as emojis by young WeChat users, thanks to a person who made them closer to people’s life.

“The ancient characters are not as cool and distant as they are supposed to be. In fact, they are cute and humorous, and they could totally serve people’s needs for online expression,” said the creator Chen Nan.

The 46-year-old professor of fine art at Tsinghua University has been working to make oracle bone inscriptions into emojis. For example, the character for “zui,” which means “drunk” in English, was created to look like a stumbling figure. Such vivid figures have been well accepted by WeChat users.

Chen has also combined the ancient Chinese characters with cartoon figures. A cartoon video clip featuring oracle bone inscriptions designed by him was viewed 31 million times and shared 140,000 times.

Chen embarked on the road of innovation 19 years ago. In 2016, the ancient typeface was included into the font library under his efforts to let the ancient words walk into people’s life.

Now the library has 3,500 characters, but Chen’s research on the project still continues, as he plans to extend the library to 7,000 characters. In the future, he will apply the ancient characters to education and the development of games and apps.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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