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
T'oung Pao – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1954
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