Monday, March 30, 2020
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Jiaguwen

Jiaguwen

In An'yang, in central China, Henan province, there is a capital city ruins of 24 square kilometers called the Yin Ruins, whose name is destined to make a difference in the history.

According to record. Pan Geng, a king of Shang Dynasty, moved the capital to this area which had been the political, cultural and economic center of Shang Dynasty for nearly 300 years. Since its first excavation in 1928, Yin Ruins has provided the world with numerous cultural relics including bronze wares and tortoise shells and animal bones with inscriptions on them, i. e. jiaguwen, which is a great discovery in the history of archaeology.

jiaguwen is the ancient character that is carved on tortoise shells or animal bones. The rulers of Shang Dynasty were so super-stitious that they would resort to divinity before going on a great activity. The predicted outcomes were carved on the tortoise shells and animal bones with the characters called jiaguwen. When the augural result came true. the every shell or bone would be saved as the official records. Therefore, these collections became the earliest recorded historical materials in China.

Jiaguwen was not recognized when it was first found. The tortoise shells and animal bones carved with jiaguwen were considered to be dragon bones, and were regarded as medicines to cure sickness. This happened until 1899, when a businessman named Wang Yirong realized that these may be a sort of ancient characters. It drew archaeologists and linguists attention, so they began to study on them. So far, more than 150,000 pieces of tortoise shells and animal bones have been excavated; about 4,500 different characters have been discovered, and more than 1,000 of them recognized, which show that a well-developed script with a complete system of written signs had already formed in that early age.

As the earliest and most precious culture relic, jiaguwen recorded the information of 3,000 years age about Chinese social politics, economics, culture and so on. Jiaguwen has been the most important direct historical materials for us to study on Chinese ancient history, especially Shang Dynasty history, and has became the worldwide knowledge.

 
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