Commons:Ancient Chinese characters project

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Nuvola apps kopete.png Hello!

Welcome to the Ancient Chinese characters project, which plans to eventually provide a large set of high quality images of Ancient Chinese characters. This illustration set will be freely usable to make educational books, websites, and calligraphic historical explanations.

You are free to use the graphics we have made so far and we invite you to join us in our work.

The work is divided in five subcategories: (click blue links to browse)

Oracle Bronze Silk Great Seal Small Seal traditional Kaishu simplified Kaishu
Ex: 馬-oracle.svg 馬-bronze.svg 馬-silk.svg 馬-bigseal.svg 馬-seal.svg 馬-kaishu.svg 马-kaishu.svg
(4,859) (3,516) (478) (3,442) (2,837) no need (font available)

(the latter two examples are modern Kaishu evolutions in Han, traditional then simplified)

Icon apps query.svg Public domain images that you can use freely

Of course, you can use all them for your own website. All this work is in the public domain. Legally, you can do what you like, but the moral conditions of use are that you state:

  1. Source: Images from (or the specific image description page)
  2. Licence: Public Domain (verify that Commons may also accept specific free licences)
  3. Authors: Erin Silversmith, Micheletb (look at the contributors list in image information page)
Crystal Clear app korganizer.png Objectives, current news

The aim of the project is eventually to provide examples for all characters available in Ancient Chinese script. The 214 radicals have already been completed. Current project focuses on (these categories are not exclusive):

  • Non-compound characters.
  • Most frequently used characters.
  • Characters that appear frequently in compound characters.
Consensus icon.svg Active on the project

We need you !

Active contributors :

Your contributions are welcome to expand this set !

You can ask questions to yug and Michelet.

Nuvola apps cache.png Want to help?

You can help by uploading historical version of a characters. Available Ancient Chinese Character sources are :

  • Graphic etymology : (preferred) only source for great seal, does not contain silk characters.
  • Sinica Database : several examples per characters, updated, academical information available.
  • Chinese text project : mostly reproduces ancient Chinese character fonts.

Please see our Tutorial to create new files, and use the template {{ACClicense}} when uploading.

Add new Ancient Chinese Characters to the database by uploading (when available) :

  • *-oracle.svg
  • *-bronze.svg
  • *-silk.svg
  • *-bigseal.svg
  • *-seal.svg
(P.S. Would you like to provide a bit of encouragement to this team and this free project?)


  • Copybook of Common Characters (pocket format). Available on Amazon EN and CN :
    • 常用字字帖 / Copybook of Common Characters (in Chinese), 1st edition edition, Shanghai Painting and Calligraphy Press, 1990, pages 490.
    • 常用字字帖[1], 第1版 edition, 上海书画出版社出版, 1990, pages 490.
  • 細說漢字部首 左民安 ISBN 7801953568
  • 高岛谦一 甲骨文字字释综览
  • CJK Unified Ideographs Localizations

See also[edit]

The sister-project Commons:CJK stroke order project.