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Asian Art

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

20th century

Engraved tortoise plastron (lower shell)

1 1/2 × 7/8 in. (irreg.) (3.8 × 2.3 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Edward H. Hume
1957.40.2
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.
Geography: 
China
Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
Chinese
Period: 
20th century
Classification: 
Calligraphy
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.