Oracle bone


Historical period(s)
Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-1050 BCE
Tortoise plastron
H x W x D: 7.6 x 9.7 cm (3 x 3 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Acquired under the guidance of the Carl Whiting Bishop expedition
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceremonial Object, Natural Material

Oracle bone

China, divination, oracle-bone script, Shang dynasty (ca. 1600 - ca. 1050 BCE), tortoise, WWII-era provenance

From at least 1934
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased by Carl Whiting Bishop. [1]

[1] Carl Whiting Bishop acquired the object for the Freer Gallery of Art sometime between 1923 and 1934, when he carried out couple of expeditions to China. The object was transferred from the Freer Study Collection to the Permanent Collection on November 1985. See Curatorial Remark 5 in the object record. Also see Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920 file, Collections Management Office.

Published References
  • John Wills. Chinese Characters: First Steps. .
  • Antony Aveni. Ancient Astronomers. Exploring the Ancient World, 1st edition. Montreal and Washington. .
  • Sabina Knight. Chinese Literature: A Very Short Introduction. United Kingdom. p. 4.
  • James CS Lin Xiuzhen Li. China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors. Exh. cat. Liverpool, England. p. 23, fig. 9.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum