Welcome to Francis Academic Press

Frontiers in Art Research, 2020, 2(9); doi: 10.25236/FAR.2020.020913.

Oracle-Bone Inscriptions and Cultural Memory


Li Anzhu

Corresponding Author:
Li Anzhu

Center for Foreign Literature and Culture of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China


Oracle-bone inscriptions, as the earliest identifiable Chinese writing system, are a major evidence of Chinese civilization. The Zhenren groups (diviners) headed by the rulers of the Shang Dynasty practiced divination frequently for different reasons, whether important or trivial, so that rich oracle-bone inscriptions were produced. Oracle -bone inscriptions, as a ritual symbol, have played a significant role in strengthening memory of human, communicating with gods and spirits of the dead, ensuring administrative legitimacy and forming the early national cultural identity, so they’re definitely worth exploring.


Oracle-bone inscriptions, Cultural memory, Ritual, Symbol

Cite This Paper

Li Anzhu. Oracle-Bone Inscriptions and Cultural Memory. Frontiers in Art Research (2020) Vol. 2 Issue 9: 63-73. https://doi.org/10.25236/FAR.2020.020913.


[1] (German)Aleida Assmanns (2016). Memory Space: Form and Change of Cultural Memory. (Pan Lu, Trans.). Beijing: Peking University Press. (Original work published 1999).
[2] (Japan) Araki, Hiroko (2003). The Symbolic Meaning of Divination Bones, (Song Zhenhao & Wang Yuxin, eds.). Proceedings of International Symposium Commemorating 100th Anniversary of Discovery of Oracle- Bone Inscriptions in Yin Ruins, Beijing: Social Sciences Literature Publishing House.
[3] D.N.Keightley(1978). Sources of Shang History. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp.45-46.
[4] Dong Zuobin (1955). Fifty Years of Oracle Bone Studies. Taiwan: Art and Culture Press, pp.129-130.
[5] Gao Ming (1995). Chinese Ancient Philology Theory. Beijing: Peking University Press.
[6] He Ning (1998). Anthology of Huainanzi. Beijing: Zhonghua Publishing House.
[7] (German) Jan Assmann (2004). A Society with and without Writing. (Wang Xiaobing,Trans.). Journal of Ocean University of China (SOCIAL SCIENCE EDITION), 2004(6). (Original work published 1992 )
[8] (German)Jan Assmann (2014). On cultural memory. (Jin Shoufu, Trans.). History and Thought. Volume 1: Cultural Memory and Historicism. (Chen Xin & Peng Gang, Edts.). P14. Hangzhou: Zhejiang University Press. (original work published 1992)
[9] Liao Mingchun (2008). A New Interpretation of Hexagram Qian in the Book of Changes. Social Science Front, no.3, pp.37-46.
[10] Liu Yiman (1997). The Unearthed Oracle Bones of Yin Ruins in Anyang and Related Issues. Archaeology, pp.5-6.
[11]  (France) Lucien Lévy-Bruhl (1981). Primitive mentality. (Ding You,Trans.). Shanghai: The Commercial Press. (1930 )
[12] Qian Cunxun (2002). Books in Bamboo and Silk. Shanghai: Shanghai Bookstore Press.
[13] Rao Zongyi (2009). Divination: Six-Digit Hexagram Images in Oracle Bone Inscriptions. Rao Zongyi's Academic Works in the 20th Century (Volume II: Oracle Bone Collection) .Beijing: Renmin University Press, pp.844-845.
[14] Rao Zongyi (2009). A General Study on Diviners in the Yin Dynasty. Rao Zongyi's Academic Works in the 20th Century (Volume II: Oracle Bone Collection). Beijing: Renmin University Press, pp.843-844.
[15] America) Sarah Allan (2010).  The Shape of Turtle: Myth, Art and Cosmos in Early China.(Wang Tao, Trans.). Beijing: Commercial Press. (Original work published 1993).
[16] Shen Wenjing (2020). Constructing Cultural Memory: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Writing Symbols. Journal of Tianjin International Studies University, no.3, pp.78-79.
[17] Wang Yuxin &Yang Shengnan edts, (1999). One Hundred Years of Oracle Bone Studies (P201-203). Beijing: Social Sciences Literature Publishing House.
[18] Wang Zhenzhong. (1994). A Comparative Study on Origin of Chinese Civilization. Xi'an: Shaanxi People's Publishing House, pp. 345- 355.