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China’s Lost Civilization: The Mystery of Sanxingdui - Bowers Museum/Examiner

Note: We love this museum and hope that many of you will get to see this exhibition or at the least enjoy the images online...or better yet the Series of Exhbits from Around The World. Thanks to the Examinder for this article on the Exhibit.

The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana continues its series of exhibits highlighting important treasures from around the world with China’s Lost Civilization: The Mystery of Sanxingdui. This exhibit spotlights what has been acknowledged by many scholars as one of archaeology’s greatest discoveries and ancient mysteries. Who were these people and where did they go? Why did they intentionally destroy and leave these artifacts behind in two large pits? Termed “the ninth wonder of the world” this find has been hailed as one of the greatest archaeological finds ever to be unearthed.

During the summer of 1986, Chinese bricklayers accidentally uncovered this astounding cache of more than 200 ancient jades, weapons, burned animal bones, over 60 elephant tusks and monumental bronzes at Sanxingdui, about 24 miles outside of the Sichuan Province capitol of Chengdu.

Enter this ancient mysterious world and learn about a sophisticated culture dating back to about 1200 BC. Marvel at the bronze making abilities of these ancient people as you view cast bronzes that were far larger and much stranger in appearance than anything seen in the world before. View the otherworldly, larger than life statue of a nobleman in flowing robes and an elaborate headdress. What was the significance of the masks in the form of human heads with supernatural features, including large wing-like ears, monstrously protruding eyes? Were they deities? Although there is evidence of bronze works some 750 miles in China’s Central Plain, none come close to being this elaborate. Historians are also puzzled about how they were made during a time that technology to cast bronze on such a grand scale was thought not to exist. 

The unearthing of these treasures also brings up the question of how the Asian elephant tusks that were found in the pit got there. Elephants of the time were thought to only be in Vietnam, which is a thousand or so miles away or in the far reaches of southwest China. The find indicates that the Sanxingdui may have lived on a trade route that was previously unknown. ...more

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