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    十二生肖单数:A world-shocking find that shapes China's past, origin

    0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 23, 2018
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    四不像必中生肖图片 www.clrex.com The Chinese language, though used by most people in the world, is widely received as one of the most difficult languages to learn for non-natives.

    How did those Chinese characters, consisting of strokes formed by various dots and lines as the basic components that differ from Latin ones, come into being still remained a hard nut to crack until 90 years ago.

    When Dong Zuobin wielded a shovel into the earth at Xiaotun village near Anyang City in central China's Henan Province in October 1928, the first archaeologist in modern China was still in Chinese gown and Mandarin jacket.

    The discovery by Dong and other archaeologists at Xiaotun not only brought the village to the fame, but made it the most important archaeological find for Chinese in the 20th century.

    The complex of ruins at Xiaotun, later confirmed to be the site of Shang Dynasty (around 1600 B.C.- 1046 B.C.) capital Yin, was most known for its large discovery of oracle bone script and named Yinxu.

    The world-shocking find resulted in the identification of the earliest known Chinese writing. It is one of China's oldest and largest archeological sites and has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage.

    Ninety years on, Chinese archaeologists have been fascinated by and dedicated to the mystery behind the language, which has been using for more than 3,000 years according to written records.

    Their interpretations of the inscriptions on tortoise shells or bones, believed to be the earliest Chinese characters, gradually picture what the Chinese society and people were like more than 30 centuries ago.

    The tortoise shells and bones bear testimony of the development of one of the world's oldest writing systems, ancient beliefs and social systems, according to UNESCO.

    Since the ruins were first discovered, researchers have been piercing together stories of one of China's earliest dynasties and the origin of the country's enduring culture.

    UNLOCKING LIFE ON BONES

    Liu Yiman, 78, participated in two of the three most important excavations that led to the discovery of more than 17,000 pieces of oracle bones in Yinxu.

    Liu's archeological discoveries make up a large part of the oracle bone exhibition in the local museum. Researchers have been sorting out the artifacts to identify the writings and stories behind them.

    So far, archeologists have found 4,300 characters on the oracle bones and 1,600 of them have been identified, according to Liu, shedding light on the life of a person who lived during the Shang Dynasty.

    "They had millet as their main food, loved steaming or boiling large mutton or beef chops, and had no chair or desk," said Tang Jigen, head of the Yinxu excavation team with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

    "They could identify more than 50 diseases and use medicine, acupuncture and massages for healing."

    More recently, researchers have used computer technology and digital scanning to analyze the patterns and scratches on the oracle bones to extract more information.

    This rich history is also drawing more visitors to Yinxu, with numbers reaching 330,852 in 2017, nearly double that recorded in 2013.

    THE GOOD WOMAN

    A queen, shaman and military leader who led tens of thousands of men, Lady Fu Hao could have never been known to today's people without Yinxu discovery.

    Her story was one of the many recorded on the oracle bones unearthed in Yinxu.

    Fu Hao was the wife of King Wu Ding, who led the Shang Dynasty to its zenith. Her tomb was discovered in 1976 near Anyang.

    It is the only tomb of a member of the royal family during the Shang Dynasty to have remained intact, according to UNESCO.

    A long-handled ax, a weapon believed to be of Fu Hao, is one of more than 1,900 artifacts unearthed in her tomb. Many of them are her favorite decorations. The collection includes nearly 500 bone-made hairpins and many jade ware in the shape of animals such as elephants, bears and parrots.

    "This signifies that she was in a prominent position," said Ma Jun, a museum docent, adding that the ax is a symbol of power to wage war and excute people, as well as military leadership in Shang Dynasty.

    "She led 13,000 soldiers in one battle, the largest number of soldiers ever recorded on oracle bone scription," said Ma.

    The artifacts related to the life of the heroine have been collected in the country's top archeological institutes and museums, and can be viewed during an exhibition tour in Anyang.

    Fu Hao literally means "woman" and "good". Her story, mostly recorded on oracle bone inscriptions found in Yinxu, was adapted into a dance drama that was performed in a Beijing theater in September.

    Next to Fu Hao's tomb now sits the National Museum of Chinese Writing, which houses those tortoise shells and animal bones bearing inscriptions.

    "Now, the excavated area in Yinxu is probably less than five percent," said He Yuling, deputy head of the local working station under CASS.

    "Yinxu is like a small universe in archeological studies. There are just too many mysteries. When you solve one, it leads to more others," said Tang. 

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