Cash rewards offered for deciphering oracle bones

Updated 2017-07-24 08:39:53 Xinhua

The National Museum of Chinese Writing has encouraged people from around the world to help decipher oracle bone inscriptions dating back more than 3,000 years to the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC).

The museum, located in central China's Henan Province, said it will offer 100,000 yuan (around 14,779 U.S. dollars) for each unknown character that is deciphered.

It is also offering 50,000 yuan to anyone who can provide a definitive explanation for a disputed character, according to a notice posted on its website earlier this month.

Inscriptions on tortoise shells and animal bones represent the original characters of the Chinese written language.

In 1899, they were discovered engraved on "dragon's bones", an ingredient used as a type of traditional Chinese medicine.

So far, around 2,000 characters found on excavated oracle bones have been deciphered. Nearly 3,000 characters remain a mystery.

The museum is also encouraging oracle bone enthusiasts to use cloud computing and Big Data along with traditional methods to support their interpretation of a particular character.

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