Perspective Open Access

Encounter between Present Female Characters and Neolithic Inscribed Symbols Prior to Oracle-bone Inscriptions

Nature Anthropology. 2023, 1(1), 10002;
Lufei Wang 1,    Qicheng Ye 2,    Hui Li 1, *   
Ministry of Education (MOE) Key Laboratory of Contemporary Anthropology, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438, China
School of Sociology and Political Science, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200444, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received: 25 Apr 2023    Accepted: 09 Jun 2023    Published: 12 Jun 2023   


Inscribed symbols of Neolithic Age were sometimes suspected to be initial writing prior to developed writing system. The earliest developed writing system in China was Oracle-bone inscriptions (OBIs) of Bronze Age and researchers have long sought its predecessor. Here, we reported that two continuous symbols on a stone ax of Neolithic Liangzhu culture found their identical duplicates in a unique writing system on brocade belts woven by present women in Shanghai suburb. Women in this group duplicated the hereditary text for weddings only once each generation in the past, and they can still interpret these two characters, implying that the two identical Liangzhu symbols may have the similar meanings. The meanings and patterns are both similar to those in OBIs, suggesting that Liangzhu symbols might be one of the predecessors of OBIs. Integrating philology, genetics, linguistics, and folklore, we discussed that special small population may inherit both the genetic structure and convert culture for extremely long time, such as this population in southern Shanghai.


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