(View exact match)divinationCATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: The practice of foretelling the future by various natural, psychological, and other techniques. It is found in all civilizations - both ancient and modern, primitive and sophisticated - and in all areas. In the Western world, the primary form is the use of horoscopic astrology or horoscopes. There is no scientific evidence that divination indeed foretells the future.
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LongshanSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Lung Shan; Lung-shan; lungshanoid
DEFINITION: Collective name of the regional cultures of the Late Neolithic in northern China of the 3rd to mid-2nd millennia BC. The term refers to the culture of the Chengziyai type site, often distinguished as the Classic Longshan or Shandong Longshan, which may have survived to a time contemporary with the bronze-using Shang civilization. The Longshan period encompasses first metal use, warfare, compressed earth walled sites of Hangtu construction, abundant gray pottery, rectangular polished stone axes, and the delicate wheelturned black-burnished pottery of intricate shapes. A method of divination involving the heating of cattle bones and interpreting the cracks began here. In Honan, where its distribution overlaps that of the Yang Shao culture, Longshan is stratified above the former and below Shang material. Lungshanoid is another term used to describe these Neolithic cultures.ZhangjiapoSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Chang-chia-p'o
DEFINITION: Western Zhou / Chou site near the Feng River, southwest of Xi'an, China. Extensive remains may be connected with the Zhou capitals Feng and Hao. Early finds include tombs similar in construction to Shang tombs, some with human sacrifices; chariot burials; bones used in divination, mostly uninscribed; and sherds of glazed stoneware. A bronze hoard, many inscribed, range in date over most of the Western Zhou period.oracle bonesSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: oracle bone
CATEGORY: language; artifact
DEFINITION: The bones (usually shoulder blades) of oxen or tortoise under-shells used in the Shang culture of northern China for divination. Used to divine messages from ancestors, they are inscribed with either the question, answer, and/or name of the diviner. Oracle bones ordinarily record a question addressed by the Shang king to his deceased ancestors, or the response to the question, or even the ultimate outcome of the matter divined. The subjects of divination comprise a limited range of royal concerns. The Anyang kings asked chiefly about war, hunting, rainfall, harvests, sickness, their consorts' childbearing, the fortune of the coming week and, above all, sacrifices. They originated in the Lung-Shun culture and have been discovered at the Chou site of Qishan and Shang site of Anyang, dating to the late 2nd millennium BC. Anyang was the last capital of the Shang dynasty; apart from the far more limited corpus of inscriptions on bronze ritual vessels, the oracle texts are the only documents left by the Shang civilization. The depressions were made in bone and then a heated point was applied to cause bone to crack. Divination by interpretation of these cracks. The inscriptions are the earliest examples of the fully developed form of Chinese characters. Those deciphered from Anyang have helped reconstruct the Shang kinship system and aspects of the culture. These inscriptions preserve the earliest known Chinese writing and sometimes, by naming kings and ancestors, confirm the historical basis of early legends. A few examples have been found at Neolithic sites as Kexingzhuang (Dadunzi). The divination practice is called 'scapulimancy' (scapulae are shoulder blades).