More than 100 treasured artifacts from China's Sanxingdui discoveries, hailed as one of the greatest archaeological finds ever to be unearthed, were brought to a museum in the U.S. city of Houston Thursday and will be on display for the summer to the Chinese culture-loving natives.
The exhibition, titled "China's Lost Civilization: The Mystery Of Sanxingdui," is made up of 125 artifacts uncovered in the famous archaeological site, Dirk Van Tuerenhout, curator of anthropology at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences told Xinhua Thursday.
"This is the latest in a series of exhibitions from the discovery termed the 'ninth wonder of the world.' One of the objects on display is the largest known bronze human figure ever made. At 8 feet 5 it is even bigger than Yao Ming, imagine that!" Tuerenhout exclaimed.
Unlike other China-themed exhibits the museum held previously, said Tuerenhout, the Sanxingdui ruins is less known to American audiences.
"This is what I call 'off the beaten path exhibit.' It helps cultural exchanges and tightens links between our two countries. Hopefully it will encourage people to go and visit China," he said
The exhibition, which opens Friday and runs through Sept. 7, is organized by the Cultural Relics Bureau of Sichuan Province, China, the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California and the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences.
The Sangxingdui ruins, first discovered in 1929 near Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province in southwest China, dated back to 1800 B.C., a time when it was thought that the cradle of Chinese civilization existed 1,200 kilometers to the northeast on the Yellow River in China's Central Plain region.
The discovery forced historians and scholars to rewrite the history books and redraw the maps of early Chinese civilization.
Excavations at Sanxingdui revealed the remains of a sophisticated culture that excelled in their bronze making abilities. These cast bronzes were far larger and much stranger in appearance than anything seen in the ancient world before.
Included in the exhibit are three large bronze masks with strange supernatural features, much larger than anything known from the period. One human-animal composite mask contains wings for ears, no mouth and large tubular beams protruding from what could have been the eye sockets. Other bronzes revealed traces of paint or were covered with gold.
The Sanxingdui culture, considered lost, left no written record or human remains and appears to have existed for only about 350 years before it vanished.