Archaeological finds shed light on ancient civilization

By Huang Zhiling in Chengdu | China Daily | Updated: 2022-06-24 07:00
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Newly discovered artifacts at the Sanxingdui Ruins include vessels resembling human figurines from No 3 pit, a bronze altar (pictured) from No 8 pit, and assorted items. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Altar unearthed

The bronze altar is one of the most important of the newly discovered artifacts. Three dilapidated bronze altars were excavated from the No 2 pit in 1986, but only one of them provided sufficient clues to form a vague idea of the artifact's structure.

The altar is divided into three layers by two platforms. The bottom layer features two large, mythical birdlike animals standing next to each other, but facing in opposite directions. Each has large wings and a protruding beak.

The middle layer boasts four human figurines, standing and facing in four directions, each with protruding eyes and wearing a tall hat. Over their heads, these figurines carry sculptures in the shape of four "mountains" connected to each other.

The top layer features a boxlike structure. Five dancing figurines are positioned on the sides of the "box", while at each of the four corners on the top, a bird stands flapping its wings while preparing to fly.

According to researchers, the strange-looking altar was probably used for sacrifices at the Shu Kingdom's ancestral shrine.

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