What are the unsolved mysteries of Sanxingdui

Speaking of Sanxingdui, I don’t know how people understand it. Anyway, it’s very mysterious. Everyone knows that the reason people call some things mysterious is because we can’t explain them and we can’t understand them with modern cognition. So this is called mystery. We don’t know too many things in Sanxingdui, not only the unearthed cultural relics, but also the secrets of the ancient Shu Kingdom related to it, as well as the trade at that time. With the in-depth research, we will solve it one day. Today, the editor will check out the unsolved mysteries in Sanxingdui. Those who are interested can take a look together!

  1. Where did civilization originate?
    The discovery of Sanxingdui pushed the history of ancient Shu to 5000 years ago.

Where does the Sanxingdui culture come from? The huge number of bronze figures and animals here do not belong to any type of bronze ware in the Central Plains. There is no word left on the bronze, which is incredible. The unearthed “Sanxingdui people” have high noses and deep eyes, protruding cheeks, wide mouths and big ears, and ears with perforations. They are not like Chinese but “foreigners”. In an interview with reporters, Chen Dean, director of the Sanxingdui workstation of the Sichuan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, believes that the Sanxingdui people may come from other continents, and the Sanxingdui civilization may be a “hybrid civilization.”

  1. How did the ancient Shu country disappear?
    The prosperity of the ancient Shu kingdom lasted for more than 1,500 years, and then suddenly disappeared like it appeared. When history converges again, there has been a mysterious gap of more than 2,000 years.

Regarding the demise of the ancient Shu Kingdom, people have hypothesized for various reasons, but they have always stayed on the hypothesis due to insufficient evidence…

Said the flood. The Sanxingdui site faces the Duck River in the north, and the Mamu River passes through the city. Therefore, some scholars believe that it was the result of the raging flood. However, archaeologists did not find the sedimentary war theory left by the flood in the site. Most of the utensils found in the ruins were destroyed or burnt in advance, which seems to confirm this explanation. But later it was discovered that the age of these appliances differed by hundreds of years.

Migration said. This statement does not require much research, but it actually still does not answer the fundamental question: Why do people migrate?

The Chengdu Plain is rich in resources, fertile soil, and mild climate. It seems difficult to justify it with disaster theory. So, what is the real reason for the disappearance of the ancient Shu Kingdom in the long river of history?

  1. What is the connection with ancient Maya and ancient Egyptian culture?
    Among the large number of bronzes unearthed in Sanxingdui, there are basically no daily necessities, and most of them are sacrificial articles. It shows that the primitive religious system of ancient Shu is relatively complete. These sacrificial articles have cultural characteristics of different regions, especially bronze statues, golden rods, etc., which are very close to the world-famous Mayan culture and ancient Egyptian culture.

Zhang Jizhong, deputy curator of the Sanxingdui Museum, believes that a large number of sacrificial articles with different regional characteristics indicate that Sanxingdui was once the center of pilgrimage in the world.

More than 5,000 seashells were unearthed in the pit, which were identified as coming from the Indian Ocean. Some people say that these seashells are used for trading and are the earliest foreign exchange in Sichuan, while some people say that they are sacrifices brought by pilgrims. There are also more than 60 ivory roots that have caused scholars to dispute between “indigenous ivory” and “foreign ivory”. It’s incredible that the ancient Shu Kingdom, which “does not communicate with Qin Sai,” actually has “overseas investment”.

  1. What are the meanings of the symbols on the pottery unearthed in Sanxingdui?
    Hundreds of millions of pottery fragments were unearthed at the Sanxingdui site, which shows that the types of pottery at that time were quite abundant. Years of archaeological excavations have proved that household utensils such as cooking utensils, wine utensils, drinking utensils, eating utensils and a small amount of ritual utensils and production tools were used in large numbers and universally in the ancient Shu Kingdom of Sanxingdui. The quaint Shu pottery shows us a vivid picture of life in the daily life of ancient Shu ancestors.

Some irregular graphic symbols can be found on these pottery, the so-called “Bashu Tuyu”. Are they words? Are they a clan emblem? Are they pictures? Or are they regional religious symbols? Maybe, some of them have a literal meaning?

Undoubtedly, the deciphering of “Bashu Tuyu” will definitely play a great role in solving the mystery of Sanxingdui.

  1. Why did not find any written records
    A valuable treasure was discovered in the sacrificial pit-the world’s earliest golden rod. The theory of the scepter has long been recognized by academia, but the carved fish, arrow and other patterns have caused a disturbance. Sanxingdui already possesses all the necessary elements of civilization for a nation, but lacks text. Scholars have some history in the debate about this. “The Book of the King of Shu” believes that the ancient Shu people “do not know the characters, nor do they have rituals and music”, while the “Huayang Guozhi” says that the Shu people have “various articles”.

Mysterious symbols and patterns on the golden rod

As for the patterns on the golden rods, they are pictures or texts. Some are already trying to decipher, while other experts believe that the depicted symbols basically exist alone and cannot express language. However, if these patterns can be interpreted, it will greatly facilitate the solving of the mystery of Sanxingdui. Sanxingdui still has a question mark in terms of writing, which is also one of its attractions.

  1. Why do naked human figures appear?
    This is one of the most distinctive cultural relics at the Jinsha site. At present, 12 have been unearthed, with roughly similar shapes. The performance is basically tied up with naked male kneeling statues. Most of them have exquisite carvings, and their facial expressions are also very rich. Some of them are buried with stone snakes, and some are regularly placed with stone tigers and stone walls. All these signs indicate that they are special sacrificial items.

However, the weird hair style, tied hands and naked image are all puzzling. In the ancient ruins in the Central Plains, such as the Yin Ruins, there will be unearthed kneeling jade statues from time to time. These kneeling jade statues are covered with clothes on their bodies, and it can be seen that they are more noble.

Nude male kneeling unearthed in Sanxingdui

Such a naked figure has never been found in the Central Plains civilization before.

Naked figures like Jinsha Stone have never been found in the Central Plains civilization. Where do they come from? What is their ethnicity? What is the purpose of the stone statue?

  1. The golden frog shaped object is the legendary Yuqiang
    A unique type of golden frog shaped artifact was unearthed from the Jinsha site. In ancient Chinese myths and legends, the frog is the representative of reproduction worship and moon worship. There are many records about toads in the moon in ancient Chinese documents. At the same time, offering frogs to pray for rain is also an older sacrificial custom.

This type of gold ware is unique to the Jinsha site. Some scholars speculate that this type of artifact is likely to be combined with Jinsha’s “sun bird” gold ornaments and attached to lacquerware. The composition is “sun bird” gold. The decoration is located in the center of the lacquerware, and the golden frog-shaped wares are arranged equidistantly and radially or rotatingly around.

Some experts also believe that the golden frogs of Jinsha do not look like a frog’s beak from a beak, and have spiral-shaped wings. Therefore, it is very likely that they have also changed from the shape of a bird. Some people even speculate that they may be both wind gods. The incarnation of the water god Yuqiang.

  1. Where did the ivory unearthed in Sanxingdui come from?
    The ivory unearthed in Jinsha has aroused scholars’ controversy between “indigenous ivory” and “foreign ivory”. Some experts infer that it may be a tribute from a small affiliated country, some think it is a local product, and some say it is the result of trade.

Wang Yi, director of the Chengdu Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology and director of the Jinsha Museum, said, “The ivory unearthed at present has been identified and basically belongs to Asian elephants. However, Asian elephants are mainly distributed in India, Bangladesh and other places, and the Shu area has always been inconvenient for transportation. The possibility of importing from other places is unlikely, and a more reasonable explanation is that the ancient Shu Kingdom produced elephants at that time.”

According to Wang Yi’s analysis, 3,000 years ago, the country of Shu had a mild climate and abundant rainfall. Compared with the Central Plains, it had a better living environment for elephants. “From the current unearthed cultural relics and archaeological data, there are records of elephants in the Central Plains in the Shang Dynasty, and the oracle bone inscriptions also record the content of the Shang king’s capture of elephants. It can be inferred that there were very There may be a lot of active elephant groups.”

“An interesting phenomenon is that a large amount of ivory is mainly piled up in the sacrificial area, indicating that at that time people offered these supreme ivory to the Queen of Shu, and the King of Shu used these ivory to sacrifice the heavens and the earth, sacrifice ghosts and gods, and sacrifice ancestors.”

But judging from the ivory unearthed in Jinsha, the longest is more than 1.8 meters, and it is generally about 1.6 meters.

Such a length is hard to reach even the large African elephants nowadays, let alone the short Asian elephants? It seems that the mystery of ivory has not yet been revealed.

  1. What is the mystery of Sanxingdui Golden Rod
    The source of the golden rod has aroused all kinds of speculations, and it is an eternal mystery in Sanxingdui.

Some scholars believe that the golden rod is a foreign culture that originated in West Asia or Egypt, and came from faraway West Asia and North Africa. However, most scholars deny this speculation and believe that the rod is a symbol of power. Scholars believe that at the end of our primitive society, clan leaders have the habit of using sticks. In the tomb of the prehistoric Liangzhu culture in Jiangsu and Zhejiang, there are ceremonial jade attachments unearthed.

The Shushan clan comes from a mountainous area, and it is a necessary tool to use a stick to help.

So far, Sichuan Jianmen rattan stick is still well-known at home and abroad. The past dynasties of our country all have the custom of giving sticks and veterans. Judging from the pattern on the golden rod, the fish and bird symbolize auspiciousness, while the arrow feathers represent mighty power. This is exactly what the golden rod should be as a symbol of power.

Therefore, it is generally believed that the golden rod is the supreme symbol of authority and a symbol of royal power. Or think that the golden wand is the magic wand, the staff in the hands of the great wizard, and the symbol of divine power. Others believe that the golden rod integrates divine power and royal power, and is the “wealth of the king” under the unity of politics and religion.

As for the patterns on the golden rods, they are pictures or texts. Some are already trying to decipher, while other experts believe that the depicted symbols basically exist alone and cannot express language.

However, if these patterns can be interpreted, it will greatly facilitate the solving of the mystery of Sanxingdui. Sanxingdui still has a question mark in terms of writing, which is also one of its attractions.

  1. How are so many exquisite jade and bronze wares made?
    Numerous exquisite jade and bronze wares have been unearthed in Sanxingdui. Such superb technology cannot be completed overnight at the current level. We have to marvel at the craftsmanship of the skilled craftsmen in Sanxingdui thousands of years ago.

How exactly did the amazing bronze smelting technology and the bronze culture represented by the Sanxingdui bronzes come into being? It is indeed hard to guess!

Some people think that this is the origin and development of Shu area alone.

Some people believe that this is caused by the influence of neighboring countries, especially the culture of the Central Plains.

Some people think that this is mainly influenced by Jingchu culture.

Some people believe that Sanxingdui bronzes are quite influenced by foreign factors in West Asia, Near East, South Asia and other places, and are the product of cultural acquisition.

More scholars believe that the production factors of the Sanxingdui bronze ware group are influenced by the culture of the Central Plains and other regions, but the most important thing is its own characteristics, that is, local factors.

Judging from the level of technology at the time, which tools and utensils the artisans used to process jade and bronze is still an unsolved mystery.

  1. What is the nature of the regime and religious form of the ancient Shu Kingdom in Sanxingdui?
    Is Sanxingdui Ancient Shu Kingdom a tribal military alliance attached to the Central Plains dynasty, or a relatively independent early country that has established a unified dynasty? Is its religious form natural worship, ancestor worship or god worship? Or a combination of these? Still a mystery. Legend has it that the Jade Emperor sprinkled three handfuls of soil from the sky to form a mound-shaped mound of soil abruptly on the great plain, like three golden stars distributed in a straight line, and Sanxingdui was named after it.

Across the river from Sanxingdui, it is an arc-shaped terrace that rises above the surrounding Moon Bay. The locals regard Sanxingdui and Moon Bay as sacred and inviolable feng shui treasures and give it the reputation of “Sanxingdui with the moon”.

The amazing discoveries of Sanxingdui in the 1980s made “Sanxing Banyue” even more famous in the world.

Across the river from Sanxingdui, there is a crescent-like terrace that rises above the ground and is called Moon Bay. In the spring of 1929, in the Yan’s yard near Moon Bay, a farmer named Yan Daocheng and his family were digging a ditch not far from the door to divert water for irrigation. Suddenly they found that the running water could not be pumped up. When dredging the water, under the stone slab when digging the mud ditch, there is a stone cave leading to a rectangular tunnel filled with jade. An orderly pile of jade is placed in the center, like a jade pagoda.

The biggest Yuyuan is as big as a sieve. In addition to other jade kui, jade zhang, jade cong, stone axe and stone bi, etc., the total number is more than 400 pieces.

When the famous “bronze statue of a large standing man” was unearthed, three or four people stood side by side on the edge of the pit that was not too wide. Together with the three people under the pit, everyone gently lifted the behemoth.

These rare treasures cannot be privately owned artifacts, but ritual tools and statues that can only be owned in the national ancestral temple.

But these artifacts were all smashed and burned by the ancients and buried in the pit in a certain order. Why on earth?

  1. The age and nature of the sacrificial pit of Sanxingdui
    There are five different speculations about the age of the sacrificial pit in Sanxingdui.

①, Yinxu before and after the first phase. The ages of the two artifact pits are considered as follows: Pit No. 1 is equivalent to Phase I of Yin Ruin, Pit No. 2 is equivalent to the late phase of Yin Ruin Phase I or the turn of Yin Ruin Phase I and II, not later than Yin Ruin Phase II.

② Late Shang Dynasty (referring to the equivalent of the first phase of Yin Ruins and the late Yin Ruins). According to the excavation briefing, Pit No. 1 is equivalent to the first phase of Yin Ruins, that is, from the Pan Geng to Xiaoyi period (Gao Dalun believes that it can be around Wuding); the age of Pit No. 2 is later than the first and second phases of Yin Ruins, roughly equivalent to the late Yin Ruins. Gao Dalun and Li Yingfu believe that from the perspective of the shape and type of jade, the age of Liangkeng should be the late Shang Dynasty.

③ Said at the end of Shang Dynasty and the beginning of Zhou Dynasty. Some scholars believe that the two pits are the remains of the same period. Hu Changyu and Cai Ge also believe that the time limit for the burial of the two pits is the same, both at the end of the Yin and the beginning of the Zhou Dynasty.

④ Said in the late Western Zhou Dynasty. Based on the analysis of the bronze, jade and pottery pointed bottom cups and pedestals unearthed in Pit No.1, Song Zhimin believed that they belonged to the fourth stage of the site, and the age is roughly equivalent to the late Western Zhou Dynasty;

The era of Pit No. 2 and Pit No. 1 belong to the same period. It also emphasizes that the late Western Zhou Dynasty refers to the age of the pit itself and the age of the unearthed pottery. The casting of some bronze ritual vessels and the production of jade ware may be earlier than the age of the pit itself.

⑤, Chun Qiu said. It is believed that the age of making, using and burying the bronzes unearthed in Liangkeng should be treated differently, and pointed out that the age of the burial of this batch of bronzes was approximately in the early Spring and Autumn Period, not as early as the Western Zhou Dynasty.

There are the following views on the nature of the two pits:

Tomb theory-this theory can be divided into two points. One is the burial pit, which suggests that there may be a tomb of a certain or several generations of Shu kings around the two pits, and the two pits are just the burial pits for their artifacts.

The second is the cremation tomb. This statement pays special attention to the large number of burnt bones that appeared in Pit No. 1 and the gold rods used by authoritative figures. It is believed that the two pits buried the king of Shu who died of unfavorable lives.

The theory of disgusting and burying—This theory starts from the perspective of shamanism religious culture. It is believed that the artifacts in Liangkeng were once regarded as “spiritual objects”. When they were “failed”, people would abandon them and burn them to stimulate the spiritual objects. At the same time, this theory attaches great importance to the aversion and exorcism of the large amount of ivory in the two pits as a tool of witchcraft.

The theory of utensils and pits-this theory can be divided into two kinds of views. One is “the burial pit of national treasures”. It is believed that the two pits were the result of destroying and burying the objects in their temples after the latter dynasty overthrew the former dynasty. The second is “the buried pit of ominous treasures”. It is believed that the buried objects in the two pits are the artifacts of the late Shu king or the temple of the old era.

The theory of cellaring-this is related to the discovery of several burial pits of jade at the Sanxingdui site, and combined with the fact that there were bronze cellars from the Shang and Zhou era unearthed in Zhuwa Street, Peng County, in the vicinity of the 1950s and 1980s. It is speculated that there are two pits It is also a cellar.

Sacrifice pit theory-this view was first put forward by the excavators, and is currently the most representative. It is believed that the two pits are the remains of a large-scale sacrificial activity. After this kind of sacrificial activity, it will be “buried”.

The reasons for the burial of the two pits are probably also an important issue that everyone is concerned about. There are also various opinions in the academic circles. The most representative ones are the “enemy invasion theory” and the “dynasty change theory.”

  1. Is there any connection between Sanxingdui culture and Yi culture?
    Sanxingdui is a precious cultural heritage of mankind. After research by experts and scholars, it is strange that these peculiar Sanxingdui cultures are incompatible with the Central Plains culture, and far-fetched with the Yi culture in the same domain. At present, the ethnicity of’Sanxingdui’ is still a mystery. In recent years, relevant experts and scholars have discussed the Sanxingdui civilization and the ancient culture of the Yi people.

The relationship between Yi culture and Sanxingdui culture has attracted more and more academic attention. The reason for concern is not only because the two are located in southwestern China geographically, but also because since Sanxingdui was discovered, many attempts to prove that the Sanxingdui culture and the Central Plains culture have the same ancestor and roots have been constantly questioned. More and more scholars have proposed that Sanxingdui culture is a splendid ancient Shu culture that is different from the Central Plains culture and developed on its own. At the same time, because many cultural phenomena in Sanxingdui cannot be interpreted well for the time being, scholars turned their attention to the southwestern Yi culture, which is closer to Sanxingdui in terms of geographical space. Another important reason for thinking about the relationship between the Yi culture and the Sanxingdui culture is that a large number of regular, text-like symbols have been found in the Sanxingdui cultural relics. However, these symbols are not the same as the Chinese character system of the Central Plains, and the current academic circles cannot interpret these symbols well. Therefore, these symbols are called “Bashu Tuyu”. After gradually denying the relationship between the Central Plains Chinese character system and the “Bashu Tuyu”, many scholars have turned their attention to the Yi language which is different from the Chinese character system, trying to explore the Bashu Tu language in the Sanxingdui culture from the Yi language, thereby unraveling the Sanxingdui culture. All kinds of unsolved mysteries.

  1. When will the Sanxingdui mystery be decrypted
    The cultural relics displayed in the Sanxingdui Museum are the result of 70 years of archaeological excavations. The excavation work being carried out now is the 13th large-scale excavation.

Chen De’an, head of the Sanxingdui workstation, told reporters that the excavation was concentrated in the center of the ancient city, and it is very likely that the palace of the ancient Shu Kingdom will be discovered.

So far, broken pottery pieces involving dozens of dynasties have been unearthed. On December 17, CCTV broadcasted the excavation work live, and the archaeologists said with a smile: “I knew it on the 17th and the 17th.”

The result is still a mystery. But one thing is certain, the mystery of Sanxingdui will not be uncovered so easily. Only 7,000 square meters have been excavated within the 12 square kilometers of cultural key protection area. After seeing Sanxingdui, Yu Qiuyu said: “Great civilization should be a bit mysterious. The Chinese cultural record is too clear. Fortunately, there is a Sanxingdui.”

In 2021, 6 burial pits have been discovered in Sanxingdui, and more than 500 cultural relics have been unearthed. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before the secrets of Sanxingdui are unlocked.