Oracle bone

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Oracle bone

Postby themyth on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:23 pm

Oracle bones (Chinese: 甲骨; pinyin: jiǎgǔ) are pieces of shell or bone, normally from ox scapulae or turtle plastrons, which were used for scapulimancy – a form of divination – in ancient China, mainly during the late Shang Dynasty. Diviners would submit questions to deities regarding future weather, crop planting, the fortunes of members of the royal family, military endeavors, and other similar topics.[1] These questions were carved onto the bone or shell in oracle bone script (Chinese: 甲骨文; pinyin: jiǎgǔwén) using a bronze pin. Intense heat was then applied with a metal rod until the bone or shell cracked due to thermal expansion. The diviner would then interpret the pattern of cracks and write the prognostication upon the piece, as well.[1] By the Zhou Dynasty, cinnabar ink and brush became the preferred writing method, resulting in fewer carved inscriptions and often blank oracle bones being unearthed.
The oracle bones bear the ea

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