Homework #4 -- Due Wednesday, October 17 Name ____________________________
Below are translations of a number of inscriptions from the Shang
Dynasty oracle bones, all concerning a woman named Fu Hao (Royal-Lady Hao), whom we know to have been a
consort (wife/concubine) of the powerful king Wu-ding (reigned c. 1200-1180).
Print out this page, and, using
the same close reading strategy that you used in earlier homework assignments,
note on it what you observe in the passages, focusing on features of the content
that relate to the context of Shang society, as you understand it so far (note
that "Guo of Zhi" clearly refers to a person).
Try to point out where these passages may conform to your expectations, where
they allow us to draw conclusions about Shang society, and where they may
challenge assumptions you may have. If you feel that there is critical
information you lack, relevant to these issues, note the question you'd need to
have answered to improve your understanding of Shang society.
Cracking on dingyou day Bin divined about whether Fu Hao shall have a fortunate birth. The King prognosticated saying, if she gives birth on a jia day there will be misfortune . . .
Cracking on jiashen day Que divined about whether Fu Hao shall have a fortunate birth. The King prognosticated saying, if she gives birth on a ding day it shall be fortunate; if on a geng day, it shall be greatly auspicious. On the thirty-third day thereafter, on jiayin, Fu Hao gave birth. It was not fortunate; it was a girl.
Cracking on xinwei day Zheng divined about whether Fu Hao shall follow Guo of Zhi and attack the X-fang, and whether the King shall attack Zhonglu from the East to where Fu Hao shall be.
Divining about whether the King should not order Fu Hao to follow Guo of Zhi and attack the X-fang and whether we will not perhaps receive support.
Divining about whether Fu Hao being ill is due to some evil influence.
Cracking on jimao day Que divined about whether we should perform a yu-sacrifice to Father Yi on behalf of Fu Hao, an x-sacrifice of a lamb and a decapitated boar, and a ce-sacrifice of ten sets of sheep and pigs.