UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The tomb of Fu hao Kwok, Kian-Chow


A fully intact Shang Dynasty Anyang phase (c.1300-1100 B.C.) tomb—Xiaotun M5 or better known as the tomb of Fu Hao—was discovered in the Anyang region of Henan province, China in 1976. Although only a 'medium' size burial by Shang standards, the huge quantity of yielded grave goods is unprecedented in Shang archaeology. The inscription 'fu hao' is seen on about half of the 210 ritual bronze vessels from the tomb, and this same name may be seen in the contemporaneous divination records (the oracle bone inscriptions) collected in other Shang sites. It is thus possible to identify the occupant of M5. Another bronze inscription from the tomb, 'si mu xin', further suggests that Fu Hao was one of the consorts of the Shang king Wuding. Many scholars have commented on aspects of this identification and the date of the tomb. This thesis incorporates a synthesis of the discussions along with descriptions of the tomb and its ccontents. The archaeological, art historical and palaeographical materials and their significance are considered in separate sections. An annotated translation of selected Fu Hao-related oracle bone inscriptions is included. In addition, a chapter is given to a new discussion on the placement of large vessels in the tomb — its spatial design principles and significance. The tomb of Fu Hao offers a rare opportunity for us to discern parallels in the Various complementary cultural subsystems of Shang, such as the oracular language and the bronze art, in a relatively enclosed context. In the conclusion, the Weberian model of patrimonialism is employed to propose a perspective of the tomb and its content in a cultural-political context.

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