News & Events

25 Apr 2023


Fudan students set up database for oracle bones


From left, Huang Bo, Yang Yi and Cheng Minghui, student researchers at Fudan Univerisity. [Photo provided to]

A group of student researchers with Fudan University has built an online database related to the rejoining of oracle bone inscriptions. The database, which is open to the public, was launched on Feb 21.

Named Joining Jades and Linking Pearls, the database has received more than 250,000 visits and 70 comments from experts in the past two months.

The biggest advantage of this database is that it is open and everybody can use it, said Jiang Yubin, a professor at the Center for Research on Chinese Excavated Classics and Paleography.

According to the center, more than 7,000 sets of inscriptions have been rejoined over the past century.

An oracle bone inscription is rejoined. [Photo provided to]

Huang Bo, a doctoral student who is part of the team, said that the rejoining of inscriptions is important because researchers learn about the history of the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) mainly through inscriptions.

Most of the bones discovered are broken and the inscriptions on them are fragmented and difficult to read. This is why they need to be rejoined, he explained.

Rejoining requires a deep knowledge of ancient Chinese and historical culture, and familiarity with both form and published information about bones, according to Cheng Minghui, another member of the team.

Oracle bone inscriptions are considered the origin of Chinese characters and represent the oldest fully-developed system of characters discovered in China so far. Inscribed on ox scapulae and turtle plastrons, oracle bones excavated from the Yin Ruins in Anyang city, Henan province, are listed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

Ox scapulae and turtle plastrons are frequently studied for insight on rejoining oracle bone inscriptions. [Photo provided to]

The online database related to rejoining oracle bone inscriptions set up by Fudan University students. [Photo provided to]

Rejoined oracle bone inscriptions. [Photo provided to]


Presented by Fudan University Media Center

Source: China Daily

Writer: Zhang Guangzheng

Designer: Jia Yingyue

Editor:CHEN, Shuyang