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Engraved deer skull

Tags: craft | deer skull

This object was obtained during the Institute of History and Philology's Fourth Xiaotun excavation in 1931. It consists of ten-odd oracle bone characters, which is a graven record of affairs from the time of Di Yi and Di Xin, namely the fifth period of the late Shang period. This piece is a rare and completely well-preserved deer skull inscription, the contents of which record how the king of Yin, after a punitive attack on a neighboring state, proceeded to hunt at Hao on the return trip. Furthermore, he made the captured prey into a sacrificial offering for Wen Wu Ding. The inscription was probably engraved upon the skull of the very deer captured in the hunt.

Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica