Oracle Bone Script

Oracle bone script (Chinese: 甲骨文; pinyin: jiǎgǔwén; literally "shell bone writing") refers to incised (or, rarely, brush-written) ancient Chinese characters found on oracle bones, which were animal bones or turtle shells used in divination in Bronze Age China. The vast majority record the pyromantic divinations of the royal house of the late Shang dynasty at the capital of Yin (modern Anyang, Henan Province); dating of the Anyang examples of oracle bone script varies from ca. 14th -11th centuries BC to ca. 1200-1050 BC. Very few oracle bone writings date to the beginning of the subsequent Zhou Dynasty, because pyromancy fell from favor and divining with milfoil became more common. The late Shang oracle bone writings, along with a few contemporary characters in a different style cast in bronzes, constitute the earliest significant corpus of Chinese writing, which is essential for the study of Chinese etymology, as Shang writing is directly ancestral to the modern Chinese script. It is also the oldest known member and ancestor of the Chinese family of scripts.

Read more about Oracle Bone ScriptName, Precursors, Style, Structure and Function, Zhou Dynasty Oracle Bones, Scholarship, Samples

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