Figure (1): The special exhibition area of "An Oracle Bone Shocking the World" in the Museum of Chinese Characters. Photo by Xu Yujie

Picture (2): Ziqi Jia on display at the Museum of Chinese Characters. Photo by Xu Yujie

Figure (3): Anyang Yinxu Archaeological Cultural Tourism Town immersive cultural tourism IP stage play "Yinxu Dream". Photo by Hou Jingyi

Figure (4): Oracle bone script written by students of Meidong Road Primary School in Anyang. Photo by Hou Jingyi

Draftsman: Pan Xutao

March 3-18, Anyang City, Henan Province.

The preliminary round of the "Oracle Bone Reading Conference" was held at the ruins of the Zongmiao Temple of Yinxu Palace. Among the 600 finalists, there are retired employees in their 80s and kindergarten children under the age of 6. Since January 1, the event has attracted more than 1,11 contestants from Henan, Jiangsu, Anhui, Xinjiang, Guangxi, Tianjin and other places to participate in the audition.

Some netizens sighed, "Oracle is hot again!" Oracle 'comes alive'! ”

A few days ago, the author came to Anyang City, Henan Province, the "hometown of Oracle", to search for Oracle's story.

The steps of oracle bone scholars

Anyang people say that General Secretary Xi Jinping is very concerned about Oracle.

They clearly remember that on October 2022, 10, General Secretary Xi Jinping said during his inspection of Yin Wu, "The oracle bone script unearthed in Yin Wu preserved the 28,3000-year-old text for us, and pushed the history of Chinese letters up for about 1000,<> years", and "Yin Wu I have longed for for a long time".

To talk about the story of Oracle, we must start 124 years ago.

In the autumn of 1899, Wang Yirong, the overseer of the Qing Dynasty, accidentally found traces of writing on the medicinal "keel". After repeated collection, scrutiny, comparison, and assembly, he confirmed that the "dragon bone" was tortoise shell and animal bone, and the symbols on it were ancient characters. "For careful examination, it is known that it is Shang Dai Bu bone, and its text is indeed before the fence."

Guo Moruo said: "An oracle bone shocks the world. "The origin and development of Chinese characters, the unanswered questions in bronze inscriptions, and the survival history of the Shang Dynasty have all gained new research directions due to the discovery of oracle bones. Wang Yirong was revered by posterity as the "father of oracle bones", and "oracle bone science" became one of the three major Chinese schools in the 20th century. As one of the world's four great ancient scripts, Oracle has also made great contributions to promoting the process of world civilization and has been successfully selected into UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.

On November 2019, 11, General Secretary Xi Jinping sent a letter congratulating the 1th anniversary of the discovery and research of oracle bones, pointing out that the major discovery of the Yinxu oracle bone is of epoch-making significance in the history of the development of Chinese civilization and even human civilization. Oracle bone script is the earliest mature writing system discovered in China so far, which is the source of Chinese characters and the root vein of China's excellent traditional culture, which is worthy of double cherishing and better inheritance and development.

For more than 120 years, oracle bone scholars have not stopped. From Wang Guowei, who verified the lineage of the Shang King, to Dong Zuobin, who presided over the excavation of Yin Wu many times, to Hu Houxuan, the compiler of the "Oracle Bone Collection", which collected the masterpiece of oracle bone research... Generations of scholars have made it their lifelong mission to unlock the code of ancient civilizations.

Professor Han Jiangsu works in the School of History and Cultural Studies of Anyang Normal University and has been engaged in Oracle research for many years. "Oracle bone glyphs are closely related to our lives today." She got up and demonstrated, "Some joints in the human body can flex and stretch. The "knee" of 'knee', in Oracle, is an indicator symbol added to the joints of the 'person's body. In her opinion, every oracle bone is a vivid painting. The process of studying and deciphering the meaning of oracle bone characters can also explore the way of thinking of ancestors to make words.

Liu Yongge, dean of the School of Computer and Information Engineering of Anyang Normal University, has another position - director of the Key Laboratory of Oracle Information Processing of the Ministry of Education. Since 2004, he has cooperated with Professor Han Jiangsu to build the Oracle Graphic Database. From entering Oracle documents and bone fragment codes little by little, to building the "Yinqi Wenyuan" data platform, Oracle research has plugged in the wings of "digitalization".

Liu Yongge introduced that "Yinqi Wenyuan" is an oracle bone knowledge sharing service website integrating oracle bone text database, bibliographic library and literature database. It contains 152 oracle bone records, 234762 oracle bone images, and 33368,<> oracle bone treatises. Using a text as the source, users can easily find out on which oracle bone the word appeared, what it looked like, and how it was used at the time.

Oracle research requires a lot of talents, and Liu Yongge is always surrounded by a group of students. "There is a dormitory where 7 students have been doing research with me, from freshman to senior. Of the last few students, several went on to work in the arts after graduation. ”

Oracle's figure

"Oracle should 'come alive'!" The people of Anyang said so and did the same.

In this city, Oracle can be found everywhere. High-speed rail Anyang East Station, with Oracle station name. Anyang Cultural and Sports Center, the decorative wall can touch the oracle bones. The main bus stops in the urban area, more than 3,6 sets of road manhole covers, and there are oracle bone and Yin ruins elements everywhere. The city's 105 oracle bone writing houses "have become poetry and distant places around the people."

He who seeks the elders of the wood will strengthen its roots. In recent years, Anyang has promoted "Oracle knowledge into the campus and into the classroom". At present, the city has 37 provincial and municipal Oracle characteristic education schools. Among them, kindergarten is mainly based on games, primary school is mainly based on memorization, junior high school is mainly based on cultural accumulation and writing, and high school focuses on calligraphy specialty education and cultural immersion. In these schools, there are oracle bone culture corridors, oracle bone avenues, oracle bone culture theme area corners, etc., and even every wall will "speak", and calligraphy works of teachers and students can be seen everywhere.

"We hope that students can accurately read common oracle bones and tell their stories." Luo Minggang, deputy director of the Office of the Language and Writing Committee of the Anyang Education Bureau, said that at first, Oracle teaching had no textbooks and tutorials to refer to. Starting from the preparation of teaching materials, each school gradually built a "one main and multiple wings" oracle bone classroom education model with language education as the main and art courses, calligraphy courses and history courses as the supplement.

Anyang Beiguan District District Kindergarten organized and compiled the kindergarten course "Fun Oracle". "When the children in the kindergarten first entered the kindergarten, the teacher took some more vivid oracle bones and asked them to guess. Many guesses are inseparable, which surprises us, as if children and ancestors have a common inspiration. Gao Jing, the head of the garden, said, for example, when explaining the oracle bones, "filial piety" is the love and care of the elderly by the children. From "wind, frost, rain and snow", "mountains and rivers" to "mouth and limbs" and "clothing, food, housing and transportation", oracle bones are integrated with nature and society.

Oracle education, extending from the classroom to the extracurricular. Founded in November 2014, Oracle Bone Academy is a public welfare social education activity position for the Chinese Character Museum to inherit Chinese character culture. It uses museum resources, combined with Chinese traditional festivals and Chinese character cultural background, to develop more than 11 Chinese character themed education projects.

Among these projects, there are Chinese character knowledge projects that mainly describe the evolution of Chinese character shapes and interpret the meaning of characters, ancient and modern transmutations, and there are also Leyou Museum projects that rely on the basic display of Chinese character museums and combine manual experience. Zhang Yue, a staff member of the Chinese Character Museum, said, "Our job is to spread the oracle bone script to more young people in an easy-to-understand way, so that they can understand the genes of the Chinese nation." ”

Audiovisual works are more attractive to young people. The large-scale song and dance drama "Oracle" and the online movie "Destiny Daughter" are widely known. "The Dream of Yin Wu" is a stage play of Yin Shang culture and is very popular. It begins with the archaeological excavation of Yin Wu, using an ancient oracle bone as a clue to extend the perspective to the mysterious and profound Yin Shang culture, reproducing historical stories such as "Shang King Wuding and Empress Wife Good Marriage" and "Female General's Wife Good Invitation". On the timeline of the reincarnation of spring, summer, autumn and winter, the four major scenes of marriage, divination, expedition, and life and death are wonderfully staged, and an earth-shattering love story and a national story that can be sung and wept are vividly presented. Modern acousto-optic technology, glasses-free 3D, screen projection and deeply immersive performing arts effects make the audience in the theater feel like they are in the Yin Shang Dynasty, like a dream.

As a "famous city of Chinese calligraphy", Anyang also includes "oracle bone calligraphy" in public welfare training. The local government invited experts to set up a series of Oracle training courses, held the "Great Oracle Bone Text" International Calligraphy Competition and Excellent Works Exhibition, and popularized Oracle bone calligraphy and painting art to the society.

The continuation of the archaeology of Yinxu

The people of Anyang said, "There is only one Yin Wu in China and the world, and everyone has a share in protecting the Yin Ruins!" ”

As the site of oracle bone excavations and the cradle of Chinese archaeology, Anyang Yin Market is a world cultural heritage. The Yinxu site covers an area of more than 36 square kilometers, of which the palace temple site and the royal tomb site are the core areas, and are also inscribed on the World Heritage List.

In 2001, in the selection of "China's 20 Great Archaeological Discoveries of the 100th Century", Yin Wu ranked first with the highest number of votes.

In 2021, the Yinxu site was selected as one of the "Top <> Archaeological Discoveries in a Century" in China.

"Yin Wu is a large site with the longest continuous excavation time, the largest excavation area, the richest cultural relics unearthed and the most far-reaching influence in China. Even so, there are still a lot of unknown areas to explore, and the excavation of the Yin ruins will be long-term. Li Xiaoyang, director of the Anyang Municipal Cultural Relics Bureau, personally experienced major events such as the application of the Yinxu World Heritage Site, the Yinxu Museum and the construction of the new museum, and paid attention to every move of the Yinxu archaeology.

Since 2021, the Anyang team of the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has carried out archaeological exploration of the Shang Wang Mausoleum and its surrounding areas. Over a two-year period, the task force identified two newly discovered ditches as divine moats surrounding the Shang King Mausoleum. In the semi-fan-shaped blank area southeast of Wangling District, the team also discovered the Western Zhou ruins covering an area of more than 4,<> square meters. It is reported that this is the largest Western Zhou site found within the Yin ruins.

"This place of Yin Wu has cultivated a group of archaeologists, who have gone to the whole country and the world. Archaeologists excavate ancient remains buried in the ground, reveal the dusty history, and transform their interpretation and understanding into new historical knowledge. Li Xiaoyang introduced, "After that, we should refine the excavation." Wherever the research is blank, excavate in which place, and restore as much historical information as possible at that time through scientific and technological means. ”

In his opinion, no matter how much investment is worth investing in Yin Wu and Oracle, no matter how much investment is insufficient. "To protect the ruins is to protect the roots and soul of our nation. There are also about 16,<> oracle bones scattered around the world, and we are bringing them back to Anyang with the help of digital technology. We do these things with a strong sense of nobility and a great sense of responsibility. ”

Across the river from the ruins of the Zongmiao of the Yinxu Palace, the Yinxu Ruins Museum is expected to be completed this year. It will become an international exchange and dissemination platform for research and display of Oracle and Chinese civilization. The construction of Yinxu National Archaeological Site Park is accelerating, and the concept of overall protection and overall display runs throughout.

At present, there are more than 360 safety guardians of the Yinxu cultural relics in the Yinxu Site Reserve, including patrol team members and village (community) cadres. They patrol at least once a day. Guarding the Yin ruins is the root vein of guarding Chinese civilization.

Oracle is a distinctive symbol of thousand-year-old Chinese civilization. Han Jiangsu said, "The Chinese characters we use today are not fundamentally different from oracle bone script, and some of the concepts summarized by sages such as Laozi, Confucius, Mencius, and Zhuangzi have continued to this day." This kind of civilization, which has developed continuously for thousands of years, is rare among the peoples of the world. ”

Oracle is also an important contribution of China to human civilization. Activities such as the China (Anyang) International Chinese Character Conference, the Oracle and Chinese Paleography Tour Exhibition of Countries along the "Belt and Road", and the "Chinese Characters" Tour Exhibition have continuously enhanced the international influence of Oracle.

At present, the "Yinqi Wenyuan" database is free and open to the world, and oracle resources have become the fruits of civilization shared by the world.