New archaeological findings at Sanxingdui

Edited By REN GUANHONG | 2022-11-10 | Hits:
Chinese Social Sciences Today

The statue of a bird with a curved body and a top, restored after its parts were reunited Photo: XINHUA

On June 16, 2022, the Sanxingdui archaeological team announced that an exquisite and exotic-looking bronze statue recently excavated from the No. 8 sacrificial pit at Sanxingdui site in Guanghan, Sichuan Province, was part of a larger statue, one part of which was unearthed from the No. 2 sacrificial pit at Sanxingdui in 1986.

In 1986, two pits full of bizarre bronzes, generally speculated to have been used for sacrificial ceremonies, were found in Sanxingdui, making it one of the biggest archaeological finds in China in the 20th century. At that time, a bronze man’s curving lower body joined with a pair of bird’s feet was found in Pit No. 2. The official website of the Sanxingdui Museum previously commented on it: “The bronze bird-footed figure is probably the most bizarre one. It is a pity that such an exquisite artifact is missing its upper half. What did it previously look like? It’s a puzzle.”

The key to the puzzle was revealed 36 years later. The newly discovered bronze from Pit No. 8, a human figure with a serpent-like body and a ritual vessel known as a zun on its head, was found with its lower body missing. Some scholars speculate the artifacts unearthed at Sanxingdui were deliberately smashed before being buried as sacrifices by the ancient Shu people, who dominated the region then. This means that pieces of the same artifact might have been buried in different pits. Finally, the missing part within the Sanxingdui Museum was found . After being separated for 3 millennia, the parts were finally reunited in the conservation laboratory to form a whole body, which was renamed as the statue of the bird with a curved body and a top.?

Archaeologists believe that many fragmented artifacts may be “puzzles” waiting to be put together. ?