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Ancient Sanxingdui Relics to Go on Show in Singapore
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Cultural relics from mysterious Sanxingdui Ruins -- a unique, ancient kingdom dating back 3,000 years -- will go on display in Singapore next Tuesday, the exhibition organizer has said.


A total of 103 rare pieces, including bronze masks, bronze head sculptures, bronze sacrificial vessels, jade and gold articles, will be on display at the exhibition from Jan. 16 to April 15, said Zhang Yaohui, deputy curator of the Sanxingdui Ruins Museum in southwest China's Sichuan Province.


The exhibition is jointly organized by the Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics and Singapore's Asian Civilization Museum, Zhang said.


"This is the first time such an exhibition has ever been held in southeast Asia," Zhang said. "We are planning to exhibit Sanxingdui cultural relics in Hong Kong this year."


Sanxingdui cultural relics have been displayed abroad -- in London, Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Lausanne -- since they were unearthed, according to Zhang.


The Sanxingdui Ruins in Guanghan City, some 40 kilometers from the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu, covering an area of 12 square kilometers. They are believed to be the remains of the Shu Kingdom which suddenly disappeared some 3,000 years ago.


The site of the Sanxingdui Ruins was an ordinary rural area 100 years ago. But a local farmer, Yan Daocheng, unwittingly opened the door to an unknown culture when he unearthed a bright-colored jade object while hollowing out a ditch in 1929.


Since then, rampart relics and other cultural relics have been found there in a series of excavations conducted by Chinese archaeologists.


Two sacrificial pits filled with more than 1,000 national treasures, including gold masks, bronze ware, jade tablets, elephant tusks and sacred trees, were discovered in the area in 1986 when local workers were digging clay for bricks.


The objects unearthed from the ruins are unlike any made in other periods of Chinese civilization -- the human-like figures and faces are utterly unique.


The part-human, part-bird masks have since become the symbol of Sanxingdui and its mysterious culture -- a culture which left no written documentation.


Regular cutting traces on a giant jade lapis reveal the sophisticated jade working methods of the ancient Shu people.


Bronze vessels, human-like heads and figures, gold masks, sticks, animal figures and other decorations are witness to advanced metal smelting skills of the people who lived at Sanxingdui.


As one of China's top 10 archaeological finds in the 20th century, the Sanxingdui Ruins provide a new perspective on the diverse origins of Chinese civilization.


(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2007)


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