SPECIAL ADVISORY: The Yale University Art Gallery is open to the public with free, timed-entry tickets to its permanent-collection galleries from Friday through Sunday. Learn More and Plan Your Visit

Asian Art
PrevNext1 of 2
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext2 of 2
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery

“Oracle Bone” Fragment with Inscriptions in Oracle Bone Script (Jiaguwen)

20th century

Engraved tortoise plastron (lower shell)

1 1/2 × 7/8 in. (3.8 × 2.2 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Edward H. Hume
Most likely a reproduction of an oracle bone from the mid-twentieth century, this fragment was excavated in China and illustrates the early practice of writing on tortoise shell. The shell would have been heated during divination and the resulting cracks used to read the responses carved onto the shell.
20th century

Mrs. Edward Hicks Hume (Helen Charlotta / Lotta Carswell Hume) (1876-1976), LaJolla, CA; gift in 1957 to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.