There are various legends about the creation of the Chinese characters. One of them tells how Cāng Jié, a minister of the Yellow Emperor (Huang Di), observed the footprints of birds and animals. He noticed that each one was different and distinctive. Inspired by it, he started to draw pictures of objects, and simplified them by reducing the numbers of lines. And these were the first pictographs, called Xiàng Xing.
Some objects can be very well represented by pictographs, for example日: