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Shang Dynasty Ritual Activities for Rain as Seen in Oracle Bone Inscriptions

  • JOURNAL OF CHINESE STUDIES
  • 2020, (70), pp.1-26
  • DOI : 10.26585/chlab.2020..70.001
  • Publisher : CHINESE STUDIES INSTITUTE
  • Research Area : Humanities > Chinese Language and Literature
  • Received : October 28, 2020
  • Accepted : December 7, 2020
  • Published : December 31, 2020

Kim, Hyeok 1

1국립경상대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper takes oracle bone inscriptions on ritual for rain as the object of research,analyzes and summarizes the thoughts and cultures of Shang Dynasty peoples. Through the above discussion,we can see that the ceremonies held by Shang Dynasty peoples to ritual for rain are very rich and diverse. The way Shang Dynasty peoples ask for rain is by Zou(奏) and Wu(舞),Liao(燎),Dao(禱),burning witches and servants,and making dragon dolls for rain. These rites of asking for rain include God of Nature and God of Ancestors. Natural gods are Shan(山),He(河),Chuan(川),Yun(雲),Xue(雪),Tu(土) and Sifangshen(四方神). The ancestors’ gods included Nao(夒),Shangjia(上甲),Dayi(大乙),Yiyin(伊尹),Yiqiu(伊逑),Zhuren(主壬) and Gaobi(高妣). In addition to these,the oracle bone experts believe that the ,茍 and of the ancestral spirits also appeared. Most of the victims of the Shang Dynasty’s rain-grubbing ritual were natural gods. This should be closely related to the nature of rain. When asking for rain with music and dance,there is no sacrifice of animals,but when sacrifices are held such as Liao(燎),Dao(禱) or You(侑) cows and sheep are often used for sacrificial purposes,and ordinary sheep,black sheep,or pigs are used. In “”,women are often sacrificed,as recorded in the literature,to burn witches or maids for rain. In oracle bone divination,we can see that the Shang Dynasty had already established religious practices based on the theory of Tianrenganying(天人感應) advocated by the Han(漢) Confucianist Tung Chung-shu(董仲舒).

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