Masterpieces from Asia

Oracle Bones An-yang, Honan, China, ca. 1300 BC, PM 35-79-60/2541
Oracle Bones An-yang, Honan, China, ca. 1300 BC, PM 15-44-60/D836
Painted Urn, Panshan, Kansu, China, ca. 2500 BC, PM-26-50-60/D2659

Oracle Bones

Oracle bones of this variety bearing Shang Chinese inscriptions eighteenth to the twelfth centuries B.C. These inscribed bones and shells bear records of royal divinations related to rituals, journeys, hunting trips, weather, harvests, and military expeditions. Today, historians use these inscriptions to gain insight into Shang culture, society, and history.  K.C.

Painted Urn

These well-balanced and elegantly shaped urns are considered the highest achievement of the painted pottery art of prehistoric China. Created by the Panshan culture of the eastern Kansu area in the second half of the third millennium B.C., urns of this nature, typically used by millet farmers to store grain, were decorated and buried with the dead. These pieces embody the way of life of a prehistoric people and speak to the heart of a heated debate surrounding the origin of Chinese culture.  K.C.