Chinese Oracle Bones (CUL.1,52,155) from University of Cambridge

Over three thousand years old, the Chinese Inscribed Oracle Bones in the Hopkins Collection are by far the oldest written materials in Cambridge University Library.

The oracle bone texts are the oldest extant documents written in the Chinese language. Inscribed on ox shoulder-blades and the flat under-part of turtle shells, they record questions to which answers were sought by divination at the court of the royal house of Shang 商, which ruled central China between the 16th and 11th centuries B.C.E.

View them online here.

See also: Art, Shang and Zhou