Remarkable relics
BY 花消英气 from 21st Century
Published 2021-09-30
A gold mask and some bronze artifacts have been discovered at the Sanxingdui Ruins site recently. XINHUA

Considered one of the greatest archaeological finds of mankind in the 20th century, the Sanxingdui Ruins site in Sichuan province has continued to amaze the world.

Since May, more than 500 cultural relics have been found at the site.

Unique bronze artifacts

Some of the bronze artifacts discovered during the current excavation have never been seen before, according to experts.

They were beyond “our previous understanding of bronze wares and posed great challenges to our research”, said Xu Feihong, a lecturer at Shanghai University.

A unique bronze artifact from the No 3 pit features a man carrying a bronze vessel known as a zun that has a round rim and a square body, said Ran Honglin, a researcher with Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute.

Three bronze figures, with their palms pressed together and their heads twisted to the right, have been excavated from the No 4 pit.

These three bronze figures are a unique find among Sanxingdui items in terms of their shape and decorative pattern, and they provide further material for studying the bronze casting technology of the Shu people as well as their art, religious beliefs, social system and cultural exchanges with surrounding areas, Ran said. Shu was an ancient state in what is now Sichuan.

A complete gold mask

Again, a gold mask is catching the world’s attention.

It is the biggest of its kind unearthed at the site so far. It is 37.2 centimeters wide, 16.5 cm high and weighs about 100 grams. Another thing that makes it stand out is that it is complete.

It was discovered in June at the No 3 pit. Earlier this year, a similar, but less complete gold mask was found at the No 5 pit.

Gold items were found at the Sanxingdui Ruins site as early as 1986, including gold foil pieces that show how the precious metal was used by the ancient Shu people. The finding further illustrates the custom of the ancient Shu people to use gold items, experts said.

Radiocarbon dating has shown that the No 3 and No 4 pits, at 3,000 to 3,200 years old, go back to the late Shang Dynasty (16th century-11th century BC), Xu said.

Excavation of the No 4 pit was completed on Aug 19, and digging at the No 3 pit will be completed in the next two months. What other treasures will the pit bring us? Only time will tell!

(Translator & Editor: Li Xinzhu AND Luo Sitian)
Artifacts  工艺品
Excavation  挖掘
Rim  边沿
Twisted  弯曲
Gold foil  金箔
Radiocarbon dating  放射性碳年代测定