Oracle Bones

Description

Most of the earliest writing in China hasn't survived. There is no way to tell exactly when or how writing emerged in China, but we do have evidence of a fully functioning writing system by the second half of the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BC). These fragments of shell and bone only show a few characters, once part of longer inscriptions. These pieces were used in rituals to try to foretell the future, so they are known as "oracle bones."


Object Information

Local ID:

121061, 121062, 121063

Collection:

Anthropology

Rights:

© Field Museum