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‘Bizarre’ Sanxingdui Ruins: A tale of cultural integration

BEIJING, April 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A news report by China.org.cn on China’s Sanxingdui ruins:

 

Over the past few days, a half-faced gold mask has caused a sensation. It has sparked creativity among China’s internet users and spawned a wide range of popular memes.

What you may not know is that this shiny, uniquely-shaped broken gold mask was forged several thousand years ago, and recently excavated at the Sanxingdui Ruins site. In total, over 500 relics, including a kneeling human figure with a sacrificial vessel “Zun” on the head and bird-shaped gold decoration pieces, were also unearthed during the latest round of excavations.

Located in Guanghan, southwest China’s Sichuan province, the Sanxingdui Ruins site dates back some 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. Back in 1986, archaeologists discovered two sacrificial pits here and unearthed a treasure trove of relics, which left the world in astonishment.

The bizarre style of the artefacts was the main reason behind such shock. For example, a 2.62-m upright bronze figure and a 3.95-m bronze tree were unearthed here. There are also human figures with large noses and bulging eyes, a clay pig figurine which reminds people of the piggy villains from the Angry Birds game, as well as a gold scepter with mysterious symbols on it. Such an outlandish style goes beyond people’s normal ideas of traditional Chinese civilization, while the artefacts also speak volumes about its diversity and deep-rooted history.

Archeological studies show that the bronzewares from the Sanxingdui Ruins incorporate techniques and handicrafts from the Central Plains, such as typical Chinese “Zun” and “Lei” bronze sacrificial vessels. Meanwhile, the unearthed bronze tree and human figures are unique and extremely innovative. The gold scepter, gold masks, and some jade wares at the Sanxingdui Ruins site have similarities with relics found in West, Central, and Southeast Asia, whereas the thousands of seashells excavated here are highly likely to have come from India and other regions via maritime routes. This brings to light the possibility of interactions and communication between Sanxingdui and other ancient Asian civilizations.

Archeologists also recently unearthed residues of silk from the site. This significant discovery suggests that the ancient Shu civilization could be one of the key origins of ancient Chinese silk. It also provides evidence for Sanxingdui as a hub on the Silk Road over 2,000 years ago, providing sufficient stocks of silk for trade in ancient times.

These rare relics present a picture of an open and inclusive ancient civilization in Sanxingdui. Meanwhile, they also bear witness to the inclusive ancient Chinese civilization which gained prosperity from diversity and integration.

The Sanxingdui Ruins are so mysterious that many questions still remain unsolved today. While seeking the truth behind these mysteries, continuous archeological studies also help integrate Chinese civilization into the world and inspire people to find the essence of human civilization and better understand the world which gains prosperity through equality and mutual learning.

China Mosaic
http://www.china.org.cn/video/node_7230027.htm

‘Bizarre’ Sanxingdui Ruins: A tale of cultural integration
http://www.china.org.cn/video/2021-04/01/content_77367887.htm

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