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Study Of Oracle Inscriptions And Rules Of Rites In Shang Dynasty

Posted on:2011-10-13Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:X D GuoFull Text:PDF
GTID:1115360308467783Subject:History of Ancient China
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Shang Dynasty is one of the most important periods in the development of ancient Chinese culture. It inherits the cultural heritage of Xia Dynasty and opens up the way for Western and Eastern Zhou Dynasties. The Rules of Rites formed during this period have greatly influenced the later ages. The Rites Rules of Zhou Dynasty inherit the legacy of Shang Dynasty and finally bring it to a summit, opening up the glorious civilization of the "System of Rites and Music" (Li Yue Civilization), and laying the foundation of "State of Ceremony" (State of Li Yi).Based on practical analysis, induction and study of oracle inscriptions on animal bones and shells in the Ruins of Yin, together with information about ancient Rules of Rites and Bronze Inscriptions, as well as archeological materials, this thesis applies the methods of "Double Evidence Act" to explore the Rules of Rites reflected in the oracle inscriptions of Yin Dynasty. The major content of the Oracle Inscriptions includes War Rites of Shang Dynasty, Rites of the King's Tours and Inspections, Rites of Marriage between the King and Queen, Burial Rites, Rites for the Barons'Tributes, Sacrifice Rites for Di and Gods of Four Directions. (Fang Shen)1. War Rites of Shang Dynasty:after sorting out and researching the oracle inscriptions engraved on the bones and shells of Shang Dynasty, this thesis systematically studies the military rites system of Shang Dynasty, such as presentation at the ancestral temples(Gao Miao), choices of generals(Xuan Jiang), nomination of army leaders(Ming Jiang), movement of the Spiritual Tablets of the King's ancestors(Miao Zhu), establishment of sacrifice place in the army(JunShe), Lizhong and requirement for reinforcement, encouragement of the army, SouShou, and sacrifices of captives. The researches show that the War Rites of Shang Dynasty are rich in content, systematic in rules, with ancestral worshipping throughout the military affairs and close inheritance relationship with War Rites of later generations.2. Tour and Inspection Rites:"Sheng" and "Xing" in the oracle inscriptions of Shang Dynasty are the records of the King's tours and inspections around his country. The aims of the King's tours are to inspect military strongholds, lands of frontier barons, as well as wars and farming activities. The practical rites include oracle divination, presentation to the ancestors, movement of the ancestors'Spiritual Tablets with the King, sacrifice for the rivers, sacrifice and report to the King's ancestors. However, these rites have their own features:tours and inspections are not scheduled and very frequent, with administrative connotations; and there appeared the rules for the ministers to go on inspection on behalf of the King.3. Rites of Marriage between the King and the Queen:beginning from the funeral rites of the Queen recorded in oracle inscriptions, this thesis explores the inner-choice and outer-choice systems to establish a new Queen. Even if all the spouses of the King enjoyed the same title, they still have different levels of statuses. Intermarriage with the foreign races reflects the need to strengthen political alliance with other countries. This is also another important feature of the political life in Shang Dynasty, and an important constituent of royal marriage system. Marriage of the royal family in Shang Dynasty is closely related with politics and restricted by certain rules of rites.4. the Rites for Barons' Tributes: the constitution and political system of Shang Dynasty decide that there is necessity to establish Rules of Rites for the barons to meet the King. The subjects and barons should meet the King in the manners of "Lai", "Zhi", as well as pay tributes to the King in manners like "Gong", "Jian" and "Ru", while the King should practice welcome rites, and rites of Jiangbi, Zhuji, Cimingxiangyan.Among these rites of tributes, there are the rites of King's dispatching of missions, nomination of missions, and establishment of missions, as well as the rites for barons to dispatch missions to the King. The oracle inscriptions reflect that the Rites of Tributes are centered to the King, but the King's tributes to his barons are also frequent.5. Sacrifices for Di and Fang: judging from oracle inscriptions about the powers of God, Di is the most superior God for the people of Shang Dynasty. The people of Shang Dynasty offer sacrifice to God, as is reflected in oracle inscriptions about sacrifices for "Fang Di". Sacrifices for Di are not the same with sacrifices for Gods of Four Directions(Fang Shen). According to the original meaning of "Fang", "Fang Di "is just like sacrifices for heaven (Jiao Tian) in Zhou Dynasty. People of Shang Dynasty have formed clear concepts of "Four Directions" and "Gods of Four Directions"(Fang Shen). They offer sacrifices to these gods in order to get good harvest, repel bad fortunes, and wish for good luck. Fang Shen in Shang Dynasty is not earthly god of a local area, but a heavenly god. The concept of "Si Fang " does not only have the meaning of "Four Directions", but also about the sky and whole universe.Finally, the thesis comes to a conclusion that there are Rules of Rites ("Li") in Shang Dynasty. The content is rich and has formed a preliminary system. As the people in Shang Dynasty are very superstitious, sacrifices become the form of expression and practical content of Rules of Rites. Rules of Rites have close relationship with the constitution of the state and political system. Rules of Rites in Shang Dynasty have great influences upon Zhou Dynasty and the belief that Rules of Rites of Zhou Dynasty inherit a lot from Shang Dynasty is reliable. The Rules of Rites in Zhou Dynasty (Zhou Li) are formed on the basis of inheritance and reform of Rules of Rites in Shang Dynasty. The so-called "Wu Li" (Five Rules of Rites) can be traced back to Shang Dynasty.
Keywords/Search Tags:Inscriptions on Bones and Shells in Shang Dynasty, Oracle Inscriptions, Rules of Rites in Shang Dynasty, Shang Dynasty
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