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Archaeologists uncover ancient bronze statue at Sanxingdui Ruins site, a rare similar relic with the one at Taipei’ National Palace Museum
Published: Apr 13, 2021 11:13 PM
Chinese archaeologists excavate a bronze item with a rare round-shaped mouth on Monday Photo: Courtesy of Sanxingdui Ruins site

Chinese archaeologists excavate a bronze item with a rare round-shaped mouth on Monday Photo: Courtesy of Sanxingdui Ruins site


Chinese archaeologists found a bronze item with a rare round-shaped mouth in the 3rd pit of the ancient Sanxingdui Ruins site in Central China's Sichuan Province on Monday, which experts said it is the first bronze statue with the unique shape that was scientifically evacuated.

The bronze statue has a unique shape - a square body with a round mouth. Its abdomen is decorated with animal face patterns, including symmetrical bird patterns, and its shoulders have some standing birds' decorations.

According to experts, the mouth and abdomen of the bronze statues previously unearthed nationwide have been square, but this has a round mouth and square abdomen.

A bronze ware with a rare round-shaped mouth displayed at Taipei’ National Palace Museum Photo: Sina Weibo

A bronze ware with a rare round-shaped mouth displayed at Taipei’ National Palace Museum Photo: Sina Weibo


"It is surprising that the newly discovered bronze relic shares a lot in common with another bronze relic that was displayed at the Taipei's National Palace Museum, which was originally collected by the Palace Museum in Beijing," Ran Honglin, the head of the archaeological team at the Sanxingdui Ruins site, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The two relics are basically the same in terms of their volume, shape, and specific decorative features, except that the one displayed at the Taipei's National Palace Museum does not have standing bird decorations on its shoulder. It seems this kind of artifact was mainly used in the Yangtze River Basin, he added.

Excavating the statue was very challenging as there was ivory next to it. While ensuring the safety of the bronze, the team also needed to ensure the integrity of the ivory, according to Sichuanguancha, a local media in Sichuan Province reports. 

The archaeologists used gauze bandages and slings to reinforce and protect the statue, and then used cultural relic lifting equipment to extract it. This method protected the relic's shape, but Ran said that the statue needs to be further restored. 

"We have not evaluated the difficulty of restoring the relic as it has just been excavated," Ran said. The archaeologists will conduct preliminary treatment and it will then be sent to a restoration center.  

The statue provides more information about the ancient Shu civilization, which is of great significance for the research of civilization, Ran said, adding that the relic will be displayed to the public in the future.
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