Current Location: Home - Collections - Others
Tortoise Shell Whistle
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2023.04.21 08:49:03

Period: Neolithic Peiligang culture (7,000-5,000 B.C.)
Provenance: Unearthed from No.344 burial pit of Jiahu, Wuyang county, Luohe, Henan province, 1987
Dimensions: L. 16 cm, W.8.5 cm

Being one of the groups of the tortoise shells, the present piece, carved with a sign “” , is a plastron, containing 11 little rocks.

The tortoise shells of this type from the period were normally discovered as the burial goods, and mostly in set. And the shells were generally filled with small rocks which were varied in number, size, color, shape, thereby sounds were produced, accordingly some scholars classified them into the musical instruments. Others argued that the tortoise shells and the carvings were probably for the purposes of primitive religion, or divination.

The carving on the tortoise shell from the Jiahu site is the earliest carved sign known in China to date, it is most likely the primitive writing script, and it provides an important reference to the study of the origin of Chinese character.