According to authoritative experts, Chinese characters have more than 5000 years of history,and they originate from pictures for keeping records. They have a long history. The oldest discovered till now are jiaguwen (ancient Chinese characters carved on tortoise shells or animal bones), dating back 3,400 years, which were already mature characters.
These Shang Dynasty ( 1600 BCE —1000 BCE) oracle bone inscriptions provide strong evidence for the maturity of Shang dynasty culture; and many points of continuity with modem Chinese writing. There are two stages in the development of Chinese characters: from Oracle Bones to the Small Seal Script (xidozhuang 小篆);and then from the Official Script (lishu 隶书) of the Qin and Han Dynasties to the present day.People generally think the former as the period of ancient writing; while the latter belongs to the category of modern language.
In history, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam borrowed Chinese characters in their characters, thereby promoting international communication. In modern times, Chinese people have by many means solved the problem of inputting Chinese characters into computers to serve information processing. History has proved that Chinese characters have exuberant vitality.
How many characters?
The Chinese writing system is an open-ended one, meaning that there is no upper limit to the number of characters. The largest Chinese dictionaries include about 56000 characters, but most of them are archaic,obscure or rare variant forms. If you know 3000 characters, you can read Chinese newspapers or magazines. To read Chinese literature, technical writings or Classical Chinese though, you need to be familiar with at least 6,000 characters.
Generally speaking, the modern Chinese characters from official texts to today’s are hardly any major changes.