The mystery of the disappearance of Sanxingdui culture
The mystery of the disappearance of Sanxingdui culture

In 1929, a Chinese peasant was digging a ditch. And suddenly his shovel turned out a layer of earth with figures of jade. It was luck, there were a lot of figures. Most of them went to private collections, and, of course, archaeologists became more active. The area was studied for a long time, but there were no more finds.

However, in 1986 a sensational event took place. This time, amateurs were also lucky. Workers of a local brick factory accidentally discovered two huge pits filled with artifacts from various materials - clay, jade, bronze, gold - about 1000 pieces.


Archaeologists began an intense search around, and finally, luck came. A second cache was found just thirty meters from the first.

The artistic style in which bronze, ivory and gold items were made was completely unknown to connoisseurs of ancient Chinese art.


The contents of the caches turned out to be so unusual that from that moment on, the name of the area Sanxingdui was forever inscribed in the history of Chinese archeology.

The artistic style of these works amazed the whole world.

There were golden masks, axes and jade knives, many shells … and mysterious bronze heads with large slanting eyes and pointed ears.

Especially many of them were cast bronze items, and the manufacturing technology was amazing. For large objects, ancient metallurgists used stronger alloys, for this they added lead to the amalgam of copper and tin, at that time they already knew such subtleties.

Among the large artifacts - a tree 4 m high and the world's largest bronze statue, the height of which together with the pedestal is 2.62 m. The weight of the statue is 180 kg, on its head there is an unusual tiara.

The carbon analysis made it possible to determine their age - it ranged from 3 to 5 thousand years.

What is Sanxingdui? Now, when archaeologists have worked in these places for many years, it is clear that people lived in Sanxingdui long before Qin Shi Huang founded the first imperial dynasty and created the famous terracotta army, and even before the era of the Warring States.

The settlement here arose at the end of the Neolithic (the earliest finds date from about 2800 BC) and continued to exist in the Early Bronze Age.

It flourished in 2100-1400 BC, which corresponds in traditional Chinese historiography to the so-called Shang-Yin kingdom, located in the Yellow River basin, that is, northwest of Sichuan, where Sanxingdui is located.


In 1992, the Sanxingdui Museum was opened, where you can see all these artifacts.

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