El descubrimiento que conmocionó al mundo: “Máscara dorada en reliquias de 3.000 años de antigüedad desenterradas en el suroeste de China”

Una máscara de oro que data de hace más de 3.000 años se encuentra entre cientos de reliquias descubiertas en una serie de fosas de sacrificio en el suroeste de China, según la Administración del Patrimonio Cultural Provincial de Sichuan.

Los hallazgos se realizaron en Sanxingdui, un sitio arqueológico de 4,6 millas cuadradas en las afueras de Chengdu que ha arrojado miles de artefactos antiguos desde que un granjero local lo encontró en la década de 1920.

The golden mask, which was discovered in June but first unveiled earlier this month, weighs about 100 grams (0.22 pounds) and would have been part of a larger bronze head rather than a standalone object, according to state-run press agency, Xinhua. It is thought to hail from the late Shang dynasty, which came to an end in 1046 BC.

A bronze animal sculpture recently unearthed at Sanxingdui.

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The artifact is one of around 500 items uncovered from the pits in recent months, according to Chinese state media. Ivory relics were also among the discoveries, as was a jade knife, a ceremonial vessel known as a “zun” and several bronze figurines.

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Archaeologists made a breakthrough at Sanxingdui in the mid-1980s, when they found two ceremonial pits containing over 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 five more in 2020. In March of this year, an earlier cache of over 500 items was unveiled by authorities, including another gold mask and a bronze vessel with owl-shaped patterning.

An archaeologist at work in one of the sacrificial pits.

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Many of the objects appear to have been ritually burned before being buried, leading experts to believe that the pits were used for sacrificial purposes.

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Sanxingdui is thought to have sat at the heart of the Shu state, a kingdom that ruled in the western Sichuan basin until it was conquered in 316 BC. Findings at the site have offered evidence of a unique Shu culture, suggesting that the kingdom developed independently of other societies in the Yellow River Valley, which is traditionally considered to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. Silk fibers and the remains of textiles have also been found in the pits.

“The new discoveries demonstrate once again that imagination and creativity of the ancient Chinese far surpassed what people today had expected,” Tang Fei, chief of the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute, told Xinhua.

A bronze mask discovered in one of the eight sacrificial pits discovered at the Sanxingdui ruins site.

CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock

Muchos de los objetos desenterrados en Sanxingdui se exhiben ahora en un museo del lugar, aunque la excavación de dos de los pozos aún está en curso.

Aunque todavía no está reconocido como Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO, Sanxingdui está en la “lista provisional” de la organización para consideración futura. Es, junto con otros sitios arqueológicos de Shu, descrito por la agencia de la ONU como “un destacado representante de la civilización de la Edad del Bronce de China, Asia Oriental e incluso el mundo”.

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