On the Marginal Notes Found in Oracle Bone Inscriptions

On the Marginal Notes Found in Oracle Bone Inscriptions ON THE MARGINAL NOTES FOUND IN ORACLE BONE INSCRIPTIONS (With special reference to the British Museum Collection) *) BY WU SHIH-CH'ANG I. 'Shang-chi', 'chi', 'hsiao-chi' On the Chinese oracle bones of the Shang Dynasty one often finds scattered characters or groups of characters, sometimes three in a line, more often two in a column, inscribed either separately beside the cracks caused by the heating of the bone or shell on the reverse side, or alongside the main inscriptions. As a rule these characters or groups of characters are smaller than the main inscrip- tions. Since they are not part of the oracular sentences, I shall call them, for lack of better term, 'marginal notes'. These marginal notes can be divided into three classes: first, widely separated single characters, which are the numerals used to indicate the different parts of the bone or shell in order of the divination made on it; second, single characters or pairs of charac- ters in a column, which interpret the crack marks as auspicious or otherwise; third, groups of three characters in a line, which describe the physical condition of the bone or shell after heat had been applied to it. Of these http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png T'oung Pao Brill

On the Marginal Notes Found in Oracle Bone Inscriptions

T'oung Pao, Volume 43 (1): 34 – Jan 1, 1954

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 1954 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0082-5433
eISSN
1568-5322
D.O.I.
10.1163/156853254X00029
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ON THE MARGINAL NOTES FOUND IN ORACLE BONE INSCRIPTIONS (With special reference to the British Museum Collection) *) BY WU SHIH-CH'ANG I. 'Shang-chi', 'chi', 'hsiao-chi' On the Chinese oracle bones of the Shang Dynasty one often finds scattered characters or groups of characters, sometimes three in a line, more often two in a column, inscribed either separately beside the cracks caused by the heating of the bone or shell on the reverse side, or alongside the main inscriptions. As a rule these characters or groups of characters are smaller than the main inscrip- tions. Since they are not part of the oracular sentences, I shall call them, for lack of better term, 'marginal notes'. These marginal notes can be divided into three classes: first, widely separated single characters, which are the numerals used to indicate the different parts of the bone or shell in order of the divination made on it; second, single characters or pairs of charac- ters in a column, which interpret the crack marks as auspicious or otherwise; third, groups of three characters in a line, which describe the physical condition of the bone or shell after heat had been applied to it. Of these

Journal

T'oung PaoBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1954

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