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Turtle shell incised with signs of “目”
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2020.12.10 14:55:31


Measurements: L.16 cm,W.8.5-10 cm
Period: Before the Sixth Millennium BCE.
Provenance: Unearthed at the Jiahu site, Wuyang county, Henan province,1987.

The discovery of this turtle shell, which dates back to the middle of the Neolithic Age, makes the developing course of the Chinese civilization more evident, and indicates that the burial practice of interring the dead with turtle shells emerged as early as eight thousands years ago in the Central Plains of China. Apart from being wore for ornament, turtle shell was deemed to be the funerary object for its possible association with divination and warding off the evil. The carved sign of “目” on the present turtle shell is most likely  serving as the primitive writing script, therefore the carvings on the oracle bones discovered at the Yin ruins in Anyang city are probably derived from this piece over the long evolvement.