What does scapulimancy mean, and how widespread was its use? What does the evidence of violence reveal about Longshan society?

Images:
This image has been Flagged as inappropriate Click to unflag
Image (1 of 1)

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

By all indications, scapulimancy was a widespread practice throughout the early Chinese dynasties, particularly the Shang and Zhou dynasties. During these periods, apyro-scapulimancy and pyro-scapulimancy were widely practiced as a means of entrenching the power of the ruling classes.

However, prior to the Shang and Zhou dynasties, scapulimancy was prevalent in the Neolithic culture of Longshan, typically concentrated in the central and lower Huang Ho regions.

During the Longshan cultural period, this particular practice of divination was associated with an entrenched level of social hierarchy in both life and death. Essentially, institutional violence was prevalent in Longshan society. Certainly, the culture was a violent one: archaeologists have unearthed countless weapons in Neolithic-era Longshan graves. However, what is troubling is that the skeletons of ritually killed infants and adults have also been found buried in the foundations of buildings.

The ruling elite of the Longshan...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 549 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Already a member? Log in here.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on