Oracle Bone Inscriptions

       The oracle bone writing is an ancient Chinese script that was carved on turtle nails or animal bones by the royal family of China's late Shang Dynasty for divination purposes. It's not only the earliest and most precious source of knowledge about the origins of Chinese writing, but it's also a valuable resource for oracle bone calligraphy research.

Oracle Collection (Book 2), Obverse of Tablet 1656


       On turtle nails and animal bones, oracle bone inscriptions are etched or written. It was discovered in the Xiaotun village area of Anyang, Henan Province, because it was the capital of the late Shang Dynasty Shang rulers Pan Geng and Di Xin, and was known as "Yin." It became a ruin after the Shang dynasty was destroyed, and it was eventually given the name "Yinxu." As a result, the oracle bones are referred to as the "Yin market script." They are also known as "divination texts" or "chaste divination texts" because the majority of these manuscripts are royal divination texts. They are also known as "divination texts" or "chaste divination texts" because the majority of these manuscripts are royal divination texts.

Famous Cultural Relics

Tortoise shell inscription "King as Banbo" (National Museum of China Collection)

       Visually, two sets of digital characters are inscribed in the 4264th oracle (Fig. A) to record some form of measurement (movement), i.e. both sets of numbers are notation symbols on the path of measurement. The numerical character " 一二三 亖五六" appears on the left side of the front side of the tortoise armor, and on the right side, "一二三 亖五六七" and on the bottom right side, adjacent to "七" there is the character " The two characters "二告" appear to tell us something. At first look, the arrangement of these two groupings of numbers suggests that there is some sort of pattern.

Oracle Bone Grouping And Division Of History Into Periods

       The WangPu script and the non-Wangpu writing are separated in the Yinxu oracle bones.

       The Wangpu script is separated into two systems, one in the village's south and the other in its north. In other words, in the Yin Market, there were two divination agencies in the north and south of Xiaotun Village. This is due to the formation of two systems, one in the north and one in the south. (The mid-village is located to the south of the village.)

       The Shi, Bin, Chu, and He groups are part of the village's north system.

       he Shi group, the Li group, and the nameless group are all part of the village south system.

       The North and South eventually combined to form the Yellow Group.However, the specifics of the merger are unknown: whether the two institutions were still separate entities at the time of the merger or whether they were combined into one.

       Scholars disagree on the name of the group.For example, Mr. Huang Tianshu's Dianbin was renamed Bin I Group- B by Mr. Peng Yushang. Dianbin, the most typical Bin group with the best-looking script, is also the oracle bone script at Wuding's apex. Dianbin's oracle bone calligraphy is frequently replicated. Bin II relates to Dianbin, while Bin III refers to Binchu of the intergroup, according to Mr. Huang Dekuan's textbook "Paleography." The Bin II category's 24,000 or more pieces also indicate its usual rank in terms of quantity. The naming of the books varies, but the core criteria remain the same. However, there is a minor difference in naming, and the impact is minimal.

       The non-Wangpu writing is unique; it is the oracle bone script used by other noblemen for divination,and it is normally kept within the family, however there are a few who are affiliated with the Wangpu script. For the time being, the non-King divination texts discovered are all early ones.

       Because the Wuding period was the most wealthy at Yinxu, there are many Bin group divination texts from this time period. Wu Ding's wife, Hao, was also his wife. Bronzes developed as well, with the Bin divination tablets being the most ambitious of the oracle bone manuscripts. They're also the most educational. It's also the most visually appealing script. The standard Bin group script is quite lovely.

Historical Research

       When the villagers of Xiaotun Village in Anyang, Henan Province, first discovered the oracle bones, they had no idea they were ancient relics and mistook them for "dragon bones," which could have runes and cure all diseases, and ground many tortoise and animal bones with oracle bones into powder, wasting many valuable relics. Wang Yirong, an expert in ancient writing, was given oracle bones and asked for advice, kicking off the legend of oracle bone inscriptions. Wang understood the significance of oracle bones and purposefully acquired large quantities of them. The city of Beijing fell apart the following year, and Wang was martyred. With his novel The Travels of Lao Can, his son sold the oracle bones to Liu Oei, a man who was active in language knowledge manuals. Liu E selected 1,058 oracle bones from his collection of over 5,000 and compiled them into Tie Yun Cang Gui, the first book of oracle bone writings, three years later. Sun Yi-jean published The Examples of the Qi Wen the following year, which is the first work on oracle bone examination and interpretation.

       Over the last century, more than 154,600 oracle bones have been discovered in the region through archaeological excavations and other means. In addition, oracle bone inscriptions dating from the late Shang period (around 1300 B.C.) to the Spring and Autumn Period have been discovered in other areas of Henan and Shanxi. Since the oracle bones were considered a treasure, excavations continued until 1928, when the Academia Sinica's Institute of Historical Studies stepped in to conduct scientific excavations. All of this came to a halt in 1937 when the wolf's smoke cleared. Over the course of nearly 120 years, 150,000 oracle bones were discovered. It provided firsthand information for the study of ancient society and aided in the overall promotion of China's excellent traditional culture. See Wang Yuxin's The Yin’s Oracle Bone Inscriptions for more information on the importance of oracle bones in history, philology, and archaeology.

       On November 24, 2017, the oracle bone script passed the International Advisory Committee of the UNESCO Memory of the World Project's evaluation and was selected for the Memory of the World Register.

In Game


       The oracle bone script, which is linked to bronze inscriptions from the Zhou dynasty (Jinwen), silk manuscripts from the Warring States and the Qin and Han dynasties, Jian Du, and stone inscriptions from the Wei and Jin dynasties, has evolved over time from the Zhou, seal script, and clerical script to the regular script we see today. It is the earliest mature writing system that can be seen, and it is the closest to the origin of Chinese characters among the systematic Chinese character materials that can be seen, thus displaying the strongest pictorial nature and preserving relatively more of the various phenomena of the origin of Chinese characters. Finding the historical source of Chinese character development and establishing the basis for changes in the form of future generations of Chinese characters, which will have an explanatory effect on both ancient and modern Chinese characters, is a critical issue. For thousands of years, this has been an important part of the Chinese people's traditional culture, and it is critical to establish a scientific history of the development of Chinese characters.


Information is from Baidu, Zhihu, Zhiwang.Thanks toMr. Chen JiangandZhou Xufor their support and help.

Ancient and Modern Chinese Oracle bone Character Database.

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