Home >> Industry

A vocation with character

Updated: 2024-04-11 07:44 ( CHINA DAILY )
Share - WeChat
Oracle bones with inscriptions on them unearthed at the Yinxu Ruins. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Fostering the future

Not only are the professors enjoying the task to which they are committed, they are also encouraging the younger generation, which is already following in their footsteps and contributing to the study of oracle bone inscriptions with youthful vigor.

Yang Yi, Huang Bo and Cheng Minghui, three post-1990s doctoral students at the center, were the driving forces in the launch of the center's open and practical platform last February. Using technology like big data, the platform is a database that integrates updates on pieces of oracle bones that have been "rejoined" — basically, matching separate pieces that were originally part of the same oracle bone — which greatly facilitates the study of inscriptions.

They explained that it can be extremely hard to understand the inscriptions on a single piece of oracle bone, but when two or more pieces are rejoined, the inscription becomes more complete and provides more references. Although the pieces of a single oracle bone may be separated and kept in different institutions around the world, the platform is able to bring them together, enabling researchers anywhere to collaborate, regardless of distance.

Previously, the results of the rejoining of oracle bone pieces were intermittent and announced in publications or on websites, which made it hard to retrieve the information in an efficient and timely manner. The open online platform greatly reduces work for the scholars, as well as any repetition.

Constantly kept up to date, the database includes over 6,600 groups of rejoined oracle bones and has already received more than 3 million visits from researchers across the world.

Looking ahead, these committed paleographers and students are calling for a greater global joint effort to carry forward the study of oracle bone inscriptions.

One critical area the researchers would like to improve upon is the submission of images of inscribed oracle bone pieces by more collectors and institutions, as they form the basis of the study. Some institutions, such as the British Library, are doing a great job, according to the team, but there are still about 70,000 to 80,000 pieces that have yet to be located.

They are also calling for more paleography positions to be established at universities and institutions. "We have been consistently training PhDs and new paleographers, but only when their career path and future can be guaranteed, can they devote themselves to the research without worry, carrying the study of oracle bone inscriptions forward and forward," says Chen.

|<< Previous 1 2 3 4   
Hot words
Most Popular