Hands-on Session on Oracle Bone Inscriptions

On Friday, 14 November participants of the Early Text Cultures seminar conducted an introductory session on oracle-bone inscriptions from the Shang dynasty of ancient China (ca. 13-11 century BC) led by Yegor Grebnev. Oracle-bone inscriptions are widely known as China's earliest attested textual artefacts.Several well-preserved oracle-bone inscriptions from the Ashmolean collection were used to introduce the participants into the language and textuality of the Shang dynasty. The attendants were guided through the process of reading and interpretation of oracle-bone inscription with the consideration of their complex ritual context.The presenter provided some background information on the Shang divination practices. Participants also discussed the issues of authentic and fake oracle-bone inscriptions as well as the peculiar features of hieroglyphic writing in ancient China.