August in China: Sanxingdui Museum

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Sanxingdui Museum is a bit of an oddity in the Chinese museum scene. It’s  a spanking new and beautifully curated non-tacky place smack in the middle of nowhere. The site itself is close to where a neolithic jade piece was found by a ditch-digging peasant, and is thought to be the site of the ancient Shu capital.

This lovely reconstructed bronze sculpture and panel greeted us as Mr Bunglez and I entered the main building of the museum. Later we found that the designs were true to the originals. I was gobsmacked by how fine and sophisticated these were and how it didn’t seem in the least primitive, as would be expected for something from the neolithic age. A lot of these could possibly pass off as modern art even.


No photos allowed in the dark galleries filled with awe-inspiring bronze masks with impressive motifs of all-seeing eyes. You’ll have to go there to see it for yourself. What I could get a picture of is a reproduction (the original I saw in a darkened gallery) of a fantastical bronze tree adorned with mystical birds and flowers. I stood in front of both original and reproduction for ages, simply gawping at the refinement and beauty of the sculpture.


It was overcast when we emerged from the museum, but this didn’t detract from the majesty of the (reproduction of, guess where the original was?) only complete bronze human statue found at the site. The figure must’ve used to hold a sceptre of some sort. As it was Olympic season, they cleverly fashioned him holding an Olympic torch for the promotional material. I’m glad they had the sense not to put one on this permanent exhibit though!



Here’s a closeup of the statue. Notice how he’s got pierced earlobes. How cool is that?