Shang Dynasty (1766 – 1122 B.C.) 2/3

The excavations of several rammed earth palace foundations at Xin Xu revealed the Shang Dynasty was a highly developed slave society.

The most valuable discovery was oracle bones, the evidence of China’s earliest writing system.

Tortoise shells, due to their hardness and longevity, were used for the oracle inscriptions.   However, tortoise shells were not the only material.  Animal bones were also inscribed.

The inscriptions carved into bones and tortoise shells were questions to the high God Shang Di, lesser gods and ancestors. 

These questions were on issues that concerned the dynasty such as harvests, childbirth, and from everyday advice to military campaigns.

Oracle bones, also known as dragon bones, were often ground into powder and used in Chinese medicines, which explains why oracle bones were also a myth at one time.

What makes the oracle bones important today is the script carved into the shells or bones—the roots of the Chinese writing system.

The Chinese writing system is the only language that still uses the same methods used more than three thousand years ago. The narrator of the video explains briefly how Chinese characters evolved.

See The Han Dynasty


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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6 Responses to Shang Dynasty (1766 – 1122 B.C.) 2/3

  1. juliana says:

    Hello there, you’ve done a great job with China’s history and explaining its culture. I will suggest to my friends that they will benefit from this website.

  2. NN says:

    I wrote wrong. I meant that they may be some mixture of Kola Laps in North Russia and forefathers for some Chinese from North West.

  3. NN says:

    Concerning the Shamanic oracle bones and the early scriptures on bone. I start to wonder if the Reindeer people toke two directions somewhere from North. One to todays Lapland and the other way to Asia. The first people in Lapland settled down in northern Norway around 7.000 BC. They also carved hunting rituals on bone and still have their Shaman culture left more or less. Take a look at their oracle scriptures, here on a shaman drum. (You need to scroll down to see the image to right) Before that you also can see rune (magic scripture) on a calendar of bone.

    The shamans do get in to a trance state to posses the animals spirit before they go out and hunt.

    This is only a theory I came to think of seeing the Chinese oracle bones. The Sami (Reindeer) people is much older than 7.000 years I believe. They might be a mixture of Inuits in northern Russia, and the Nenets for example ( They also has very much Asian look. They where all hunters and fishers among the Reindeer people. They all are surely related to the Eskimos. They are also the people called “human”, the tribe that is the same all the way from Ancient Japan as I told before.

    So if you are looking for ancestors for the Chinese people from North East, this might be it. I’ve never thought about it that way.

    • The similarities to the oracle bones in China are stricking. Genetic testing shows that the Eskimos came across the Bering straits from Sibera and were related to people who lived in Manchuria/Mongolia. If these people migrated to the Americas about 10 to 12 thousand years ago, what would stop some of them from going in the other direction toward the area where the Reindeer people in Lapland lived. I wonder if anyone has done DNA sequencing of the Reindeer people to see if there is a link.

      • NN says:

        Yes, this is exactly why one must think larger, because the DNA maps don’t tell us what happened and might be of importance in our time, not something that happened 12.000 years ago only. That’s why I’m here lurking on your blog. 🙂 Your blog is of big importance to me.

        “I wonder if anyone has done DNA sequencing of the Reindeer people to see if there is a link.”

        I want to know that too. But you know the Laps have been very very bad treated so i don’t think they want anything to do with this modern society concerning this. They are also very quiet people, they keep the most for them selves. Little odd mentality, but very friendly. But lets hope someone of those is willing to speak some day even if their history ain’t that nice.

      • NN says:

        Right now I’m watching this videos of Korean “human beings”. They are the same people and lived side by side with the Randier people is my strong guess. Mongolians are the “humans” as well so.. if that might give you some tips. You know the Chinese history better than me.

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