A peek behind the masks

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2021-03-25 08:02
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A newly found 28-centimeter-high gold mask from No 5 pit at the site.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Freshly unearthed treasures from famous archaeological site will help answer questions about mysterious ancient culture, Wang Kaihao reports in Guanghan, Sichuan province.

Lei Yu considers himself lucky. Archaeologists dream of having the chance to excavate something like this. In terms of his chosen profession this is the ultimate prize. The stuff dreams are made of.

As the chief archaeologist in charge of the Sanxingdui Ruins site in Guanghan, Sichuan province, dating back more than 3,200 years, Lei thought that the site would have long ago offered up all of its most stunning artifacts. The accidental discovery of two "sacrificial pits"-at least, considered as such by most scholars due to the smashed and burned objects there-in 1986 was incredible.

Back then, more than 1,000 artifacts were recovered from the No 1 and No 2 pits of Sanxingdui, including numerous bronzeware items with exotic markings, as well as figurines, human face masks with protruding pupils and an exquisite 3.95-meter-high "divine tree", believed to have been worshipped as a ladder to heaven.

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