RELG 253 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Oracle Bone, Mirror Image

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Published on 11 Jun 2012
Course
The Archeological Record
Oracle Bones
a.k.a. Dragon bones
Used to be found by farmers who would sell them to the local pharmacist
1935
A dig was undertaken and these bones were analyzed and studied
Plastromancy
Turtle bones
Scapulamancy (omoplate)
Cattle bones
Used in divination
Bones have a front (inside) and back (outside) side
Yin and yang
Hot poker applied to the back so that inscription happens on the front
The crack that would happen was predicting something
Charge
Positive and negative statements (opposite)
Prognostication
The king gives his analysis
Who
Ruler
Shaman
Recorder
Were the three roles played by one person or various people?
One person is surely an elite
Shang & Zhou Bronzes
Ritual use
Design motifs
Clouds
Dragon
Animals
Symmetry
T'ao-t'ieh
Head
Two profiles, but with the line that cuts in between them, it creates a complete
face
Fei-yi
Double profile
Mirror image of two profile images that add up to one big picture
Phenomenon also seen on the North American West coast
Man in the mouth of a beast
Man
Shaman
Bells
65 bells excavated in 1978
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Document Summary

Used to be found by farmers who would sell them to the local pharmacist. A dig was undertaken and these bones were analyzed and studied a. k. a. Bones have a front (inside) and back (outside) side. Hot poker applied to the back so that inscription happens on the front. The crack that would happen was predicting something. Two profiles, but with the line that cuts in between them, it creates a complete face. Mirror image of two profile images that add up to one big picture. Phenomenon also seen on the north american west coast. Identifies who made the bell, when, for whom, why. Everything you need in the afterlife was in the tombs. The person who dies continues to lives in an afterlife. So whatever you need in this life, you"ll need it in the one after e. g. you put a copy of your house in your tomb. Corresponds to the shape of a turtle shell.

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