No. 4
鹿頭骨刻辭 (《甲編》3940, R041038)
Engraved deer skull (Part1(《甲編》) 3940, R041038)
Excavation date: 1931, 4th Xiaotun excavation
Place of excavation: Xiaotun, Anyang County, Henan Province
Object dimensions: length 22.7 cm, width 20.2 cm
Rubbing dimensions: length 23.2 cm, width 20.81 cm
Obtained in the Institute of History and Philology's 4th Xiaotun excavation in 1931, and consisting of ten-odd oracle bone characters, it is a late Shang period 5 inscription: a graven record of affairs from the time of Di Yi and Di Xin. This piece is a rare and moreover completely well-preserved deer skull inscription, the contents of which record how the king of Yin, after a punitive attack on a neighboring state, proceeded to hunt at Hao on the return trip. Furthermore, he made the captured prey into a sacrificial offering for Wen Wu Ding. It is possible this inscription was engraved upon the skull of the very deer captured in the hunt.