Ancient Chinese letters date back to 2500 B.C. The Ancient Chinese used a very different writing system which used logograms. Logograms use symbols which have a particular meaning and makes up a word. The basic features of Chinese writing have not changed but scholars would beg to differ.
The current Chinese script was evolved in the beginning of 20th century. Ancient Chinese letters consist of an imaginary square inside which there is a certain arrangement of lines. One has to give credit to the ancient Chinese letters for being the oldest writing script in the world.
The earliest ancient Chinese letters were classified under the Oracle bone script. This script was first written on bones of animals which were then heated. A pattern of cracks would soon ensue and then this would be used to predict the future. Ancient Chinese letters or words carried a style of rebus writing. Rebus writing is when one uses one word to write another word of a similar sound. This was possible with ancient Chinese letters as they were monosyllabic.
The Chinese script evolved over a period of 3500 years to its present state. IN the earliest stages the script was pictographic evolving to an ambiguous range of characters to the standard script form used today containing more than thousands of letters.
I would be discussing some of the earlier Ancient Chinese letters and their script form below.
Greater Seal in ancient China:
It developed during the late Shang dynasty. This was written on cast bronze containers. The script was the same as the oracle bone script but because of the difference of the inscription materials, they looked different.
Lesser Seal in ancient China:
This is a very elegant script. The letters are more standardized and less pictographic. This script is considered to be the parent of the current Chinese script in use. It uses radicals extensively in its script much like the modern script. It is still used in its calligraphic form.
Clerky Script in ancient China:
This was evolved during the Han and Qin dynasties. It has lesser strokes or lines to its name and has a greater flow to it. It was developed at the behest of the government bureaucrats who used pens and brushes to write.
Standard Script in ancient China:
This style was developed near the end of the Han dynasty. It resembles the current Chinese script. It has a very cursive style to it and is very popular in calligraphy
Running Script in ancient China:
It appeared after the Han dynasty was over. It gets progressively more cursive in style with a few lines missing here and there by a confluence.
Grass Script in ancient China:
This one is the most cursive script among all the ancient Chinese letters. The script was developed during Qin Dynasty. Here a number of lines in the letters get merged or are simply neglected.
A major change occurred in mid 20th century in the ancient Chinese letters. The characters were simplified and contained fewer lines. It also consisted of most of the colloquial words used in the ancient script.