Tortoise shell with vermillion text (Part3 65, 66, R041291)

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

Obtained in the Institute of History and Philology's 13th excavation, it is an oracle bone belonging to the first period of the age of Wu Ding. Most tortoise shells used for divination were cut from the middle into two halves and then used. This piece is the right half of a large tortoise shell. The divination's contents on one hand have to do with the weather, controlled by Shang Di, the High God; on the other hand, they concern the king of Yin's decisions about which destinations he should leave for.
The back of the tortoise shell has traces of several vermillion characters written with a brush yet left uninscribed. Besides these, the rest were all first brushed and then carved; after being carved, one can still see the remaining traces of the vermillion writing, while the carved space was filled with inky pigment. 


Object dimensions: length 35.3 cm, width 14.9 cm. Rubbing dimensions: length 35.36 cm, width 15.11 cm


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


Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica
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