Search by Subject
Search by Institution
Tortoise plastron with vermillion text (Part2 6422, 6423, R044802)

Tags: divination | oracle bone | Shang dynasty | turtle shell | Wu Ding

Obtained in the Institute of History and Philology's 13th Xiaotun excavation in 1936, it belongs to period 1, the age of Wu Ding. Upon the shell can clearly be seen the number preceding each divination record. When people of the Shang dynasty divined, a single matter might be repeatedly divined about quite a few times, and in order to clearly distinguish which divination charge was the result of which time the question was divined, in the upper right corner or upper left corner of the divination charge itself would be inscribed a number 1, 2, 3, 4... and so on.
On the back of this tortoise plastron, the bridge of the shell is inscribed the line of characters "Que sent in 250 (tortoise shells)," a so-called "shell-bridge inscription." After carving this particular shell-bridge inscription, it was smeared with vermillion paste. In the middle of the shell there are two lines of characters written with a brush but left uncarved, appearing as dark red.


 Rubbing dimensions: length 16.9 cm, width 9.65 cm


Excavation date: 1936, 13th Xiaotun excavation
Place of excavation: Xiaotun, Anyang County, Henan Province


Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica
Digital Resources and Archived Images Application