Editor's note: What does the earliest "China" look like? Henan is one of the cradles of Chinese civilization.Are there any unknown stories about it? To exploring the origins of Chinese civilization, we are launching a special column:The Development of Civilizations. Starting from Henan, let's discover the charm of Chinese civilization.
Do you know what did "news" look like more than 3,000 years ago?
Oracle bone that records acrash of a king in the Shang Dynasty
Look at this oracle bone with unique inscriptions above that not only give a complete picture of a crash of a king in the Shang Dynasty, but also have some literary overtones.
The inscriptions read, a Shang king predicted through divination that he would be in trouble within ten days. A few days later, the king went out to hunt rhinos. As predicted, the carriage in which he was riding struck a rock so hard that it overturned with the broken axle. An attendant named Ziyang also fell from the carriage.
See the details of Pic 2. The stroke representing the transverse axis of the carriage is obviously broken. Pic 3 is another symbol of "carriage", which is written upside down, indicating that the carriage has overturned. So, aren't these inscriptions vivid?
They also contain the five news elements: when, where, who, why and what.
However, unlike the news people read today in newspapers and on the Internet, those inscriptions were carved on "turtle shells and ox bones", and mainly were records of divination activities of the royal family of the Shang Dynasty.
Oracle bone inscriptions
According toThe Book of Rites, "The Shang people worshiped ghosts and gods, and always serve them first." They were known far and wide for their keenness on ritual divination. No matter how big or small the affair was, the Shang people must first pray to gods before taking actions. Only after learning of good fortune or bad luck, did they decide whether to start or not.So, those oracle bones which recorded the divination results of political, economic, military and social affairs can help decipher ancient China.
As the place where oracle bone inscriptions were discovered, Yin Ruins undoubtedly plays a significant role in exploring the origins, formation and development of Chinese civilization. So far, around 160,000 pieces of oracle bones have been found at Yin Ruins with over 4,500 individual characters identified.
No. YH127 oracle bone pit
Oracle bone inscriptions are the earliest Chinese script with a developed writing system.Therefore, they are important in many research fields such as philology, history and geography.
Oracle bone inscriptions, with natural lines, reflect the thoughts of ancient Chinese people on nature, and undertake the mission to pass down the Chinese characters to future generations through the artistic shapes outlined by each stroke.
Different fonts of Chinese characters
The various forms of Chinese calligraphy are in the same vein across China. Judging from the approximately 1,500 characters that have been decoded so far, oracle bone inscriptions resemble structurally modern Chinese characters, from which the calligraphy art in later generations evolved.
From the elongated style of seal scripts in the Qin Dynasty, the symmetrical structure of official scripts in the Han Dynasty, and the charm of standard scripts in the Northern Dynasty, we can still see the shadow of oracle bone inscriptions.
“河南” in oracle bone inscriptions
With more than 3,000 years of evolution, the structure of Chinese characters has remained the same until today, inheriting and carrying forward the Chinese quint essence. The ancient oracle bone inscriptions will continue to inspire creativity with their profound cultural heritage.With the blessing of science and technology, the vivid lines of the earliest writing system ever found in China have become "alive", giving us a glimpse of China thousands of years ago.
This is how civilization developed. Here is one of the oldest Chinese civilizations.
执行：娄恒 赵汉青 范昭