The 3000 years old gold mask could be the largest and heaviest relic found in the Asian country and would help shed light on the customs and beliefs of its time.
3000 Years Gold Mask And Other Artifacts Found In China
Six ancient sacrificial pits and more than 500 relics dating to around 3,000 years ago have been unearthed at the famous Sanxingdui Ruins Site in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. Among all of her, none attracted more attention than a mysterious golden mask.
This was announced by the Chengdu National Cultural Heritage Administration in recent days, and the excavation team at the Sanxigdiu site.
“The site of the Sanxingdui ruins has been confirmed to be the oldest site from the pre-Qin period (before 221 BC) in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River,” said Lei Yu, head of the excavation team at the archaeological site. .
Consequently, experts believe that the new findings at the site will shed more details on the ancient Shu civilization and its link with that of the Chinese nation.
The Artifacts Are Made Up Of 84% Gold
The material found is 84% gold, and due to the burn marks that appeared on the relics, scientists believe they could be sacrificial offerings that were burned before burial.
Meanwhile, the size of the part of the mask found surprised the specialists since it measures about 23 centimeters wide by 28 high. While its weight is around 280 grams and it is estimated that in its full form it could weigh around half a kilo.
In addition to the gold mask, archaeologists discovered bronze sculptures, gold leaf, and artifacts made from ivory, jade, and bone. The six wells, of which the largest has a footprint of 19 square meters (205 square feet), also produced a still unopened wooden box and a bronze vessel with an owl-shaped pattern.
More than 50,000 ancient artifacts have been found at Sanxingdui since the 1920s, when a local farmer accidentally stumbled upon several relics at the site. A breakthrough came in 1986, with the discovery of two ceremonial wells containing more than 1,000 items, including elaborate and well-preserved bronze masks.
After a long pause in excavations, a third pit was found in late 2019, leading to the discovery of another five last year.
Sanxingdui is believed to have sat in the heart of the Shu state, of which historians know relatively little due to scant written records. Discoveries made at the site date back to the 12th and 11th centuries BC, and many of the items are now on display in a museum.
The site has revolutionized experts’ understanding of how civilization developed in ancient China. In particular, evidence for a unique Shu culture suggests that the kingdom developed independently of neighboring societies in the Yellow River Valley, which was traditionally considered the cradle of Chinese civilization.
The discovery of silk fibers and textile scraps can also broaden our understanding of Shu. The head of the excavation team and head of the Sichuan Provincial Research Institute of Archeology and Cultural Relics, Tang Fei, told a news conference that the discovery indicates that the kingdom “was one of the important origins of silk in ancient China”.
Although not yet recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sanxingdui is on the organization’s “tentative list” for possible future inclusion. Along with other archaeological sites of Shu, the UN agency credits him as “an outstanding representative of the Bronze Age civilization of China, East Asia and even the world.”