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Oracle Bone

Object Number:
49-14-7B
Current Location:
China Gallery
Culture:
Chinese
Provenience:
Anyang
Period:
Shang Dynasty
Date Made:
Shang Dynasty
Early Date:
1700
Late Date:
1100
Section:
Asian
Materials:
Bone
Shell
Description:
Oracle bone fragment. Shang Dynasty kings used oracle bones as a form of divination to seek supernatural guidance about important political, social, and personal issues. Usually created from cattle shoulder blades and the underside of turtle shells, the bones were smoothed and then heated until they cracked. By interpreting the cracks, royal diviners believed they were recieving insight that allowed them to answer questions about the future. In many cases, a record of the reading was written on the bones. These texts provide invaluable information about early chinese religion, politics, and elite life
Height:
1.4cm
Width:
1cm
Credit Line:
Bequest of Julia Morgan, through brother Hugh Morgan

Bibliography:

[Article] Mair, Victor A. 2001. The Case of the Wayward Oracle Bone. Expedition. 43 (2) : Page/Fig./Plate: Fig. 2
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