In ancient times, there was no fingerprint identification, so why do you need to be fingerprinted?

In today’s technologically advanced world, fingerprint identification technology is used in every detail of life. Small to cell phone payment, company card punching, large to investigate the case, contract signing, fingerprints is a unique identification of a person.

I don’t know if anyone has noticed this: in many costume dramas, there are many scenes of signing a contract. In our knowledge, there is no fingerprint identification technology in ancient times, so what is the use of fingerprints? And how is the handprint as a proof? Is the TV series cheating people?

In ancient times, the popularity of culture is not enough to be able to read and write, few and far between. In addition to the children of large families have the opportunity to go to school, there are many ordinary people can not even write their own names. So when they need to sign and pledge, they will draw a “ten” or draw a “○” on the contract, to indicate agreement.

But in this way, it is difficult to ensure the legality and reliability of the contract. So the wise ancients came up with a solution: handprinting. The ancients did not create something out of nothing, imagination, but after a long period of observation and verification, found that each person’s fingerprints are different, but also unchanging, unless the hand is injured or irreversible damage. Therefore, the fingerprint can be used as an important proof of contract in ancient society.

So how to compare the ancient people after the fingerprints? We can not worry about it. Although the ancient identification technology can not reach our today’s speed and professional, but the ancients in the long-term life practice, mastered a certain use of the naked eye to distinguish the fingerprint skills.

In order to improve the accuracy, at that time, the whole hand was pressed on the note (and even the footprint) when drawing. Later, the technology became more and more mature, and only one finger needed to be pressed, and only 4~5 recognition points were needed to compare. Every time you need to compare, let people press out their handprints, and you can see if there is a difference when you compare the two pieces of paper.

The ancient people’s social circle is not large, a person’s lifetime acquaintance is at most the population of a county, and at that time the county is at most a few hundred families, so through the naked eye comparison can also be compared to complete the work.

In addition, the ancients believed that “there are gods at three feet”, after pressing the handprint, if you break your word, you will be punished by the gods, so once people press the handprint, they dare not easily violate. For example, when a prisoner confesses his guilt, he confesses his guilt, and those who are wrongly accused will not draw a bet even if they die. In TV dramas, there are often scenes of forced charges, where the forced person always says: “I was wrongly accused, you are so beaten into a trick, I will not let you go even if I die.” It is also evident that the ancient people understood and valued the signature and pledge.

In fact, the use of fingerprints in ancient China goes back a long way. It was recorded in the Qin brief “Seal Diagnosis Style – Cave Thief” unearthed in Yunmeng that during the Qin Dynasty, handprints could already be used as a reference for solving cases.

Topography of “Seal Diagnosis – Cave Thief

The real systematic application of fingerprint recognition still has to be in the Song Dynasty. Song Ci, the famous Song court official, had a detailed study of fingerprints in the book “The Book of Cleansing Injustice” and organized a large-scale fingerprint recording work.

The Book of the Cleansing of Injustice

In the West, it is said that a British governor in the South China Sea discovered that the local Chinese habitually put their fingerprints on their signatures, which sparked his interest in fingerprints. In fact, fingerprint identification was not used in the West until after 1981 as the main method of identification, and gradually developed into the modern technique of fingerprint identification.

This is a great loss for us, as many of the advanced techniques have been lost over time. We can still see models of inventions such as the “geodetic instrument” in museums, but their functions and various techniques can no longer be restored.