See an extraordinary collection of Bronze Age artefacts ever to be found at the Three Star Piles Museum in the Chengdu prefecture which were discovered by accident in 1929 by a peasant digging in a field near the Yazi River. The Three Star Pile is three mounds which have yielded a stunning series of artefacts attributed to the Shu people from Sichuan stretching over a period of 3000 years dating from around 7000 BCE in the late Neolithic period. Covering 4.6 square miles the site yielded 400 exquisitely made jade and other objects in early archaeological digs. In 1986 a further 1000 items were discovered in what was thought to be sacrificial pits which were found to be from the 11th and 12th centuries BCE. They included several artefacts in gold, ivory, jade, bronze, copper and shells. Of particular interest were several magnificent bronze pieces that included a stylized statue of a man 2.62 meters in height and weighing over 180 kilograms in an unusual pose, said to be the oldest such statue in the world, a 3.95 meter high ornate bronze tree, bells, griffons, large bronze heads with gold foil masks, bronze masks and copper mythical beasts among others. Although there is still some uncertainty as to the purpose of these objects the skill displayed in their casting and artistry is undeniable. These were some of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century both in their magnificence and quantity. This Bronze Age civilization that flourished in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River had distinctive cultural features distinguishing them from other groups.
Visit the modern museum showcasing this world famous collection in 4.000 sq meters of space. Divided into four exhibition halls the artefacts include ceramics dating from 4,800 years ago, well preserved jade ceremonial and military objects and tools with blades that are still sharp, gold objects including masks and ceremonial ware. The highlight of the exhibits is the bronze collection that range from ceremonial to religious objects. A new exhibition hall was opened in 2004 to display the jade and gold artefacts and pottery while the older exhibition halls were remodelled. The museum grounds complement the exhibits within with park like surroundings embellished with pools, flower beds, trees and ornamental stones.
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