Take me to your leader



Amongst all the relics in the Beijing National Museum, these are the ones that stand out for me. I wasn't able to go through the entire museum, I admit. I spent nearly 3 hours there and it still wasn't enough….

Looking at these bronze masks, I can't help but think about Mayan/ Aztec art. And aliens. 

These were found in San Xing Dui, and date from the Bronze Age (B.C.). It's part of the "Shu" culture, which I like to think came from some meteor collision. 

DSCN1895

This bronze is part of a larger totem – there are similar masks which all link together (not sure how) to form something bigger. No, I don't know if they transform into 1 mega-totem robot….but if it did, I reckon it'd shoot lasers from those bug-eyes…

 

 

DSCN1894This gigantic bronze was one of those mind-boggling things that made me stare with my mouth open in total disbelief. It looks like something from a movie set rather than a real artifact created by and unearthed by human beings. Who were these "Shu" civilisation people? Where did they come from? Why haven't lasers been discovered in their digs yet? 

 

DSCN1901The Beijing Museum houses 2 terracotta soldiers and 1 horse from the main collection in Xian. Gives you an idea of how "real" sized they are, and that they all have different facial features and individual characteristics. I stood looking at them imagining the real men and horse these were modeled from. It's eerie but it got the point where I felt sorry for these statues, being removed from the rest of their army mates, and held so far away from where they belonged. 

 

 

DSCN1905This creature is a "Bixie" and dates from 25-220 AD. It's a guardian for tombs, generally paired with a "Tianlu" (another mythical beast). It reminds me of some Sumerian statues in the British Natural History Museum…

 

DSCN1915This "pottery dancer" is from 202 B.C. – 8 A.D. I love the movement captured in this statue that's over 2000 years old. It's totally assymetrical and yet it still stands upright. 

 

DSCN1921This was a scene depicted on a vessel for offerings. It's so detailed, and I love the "exotic animal" farm depicted on this side. I can see a leopard, a lion…and at least 1 other big cat lying on its side. And is there something reminiscent of South American art in this? The hair and big earings? 

 

DSCN1924Speaking of Mayan & Aztec art…..This bronze belt buckle is also from 202 B.C. – 8 A.D. from the "Dian" civilisation.

 

DSCN1926Another mythical beast….The description in the museum dates it between 202 B.C. 220 A.D.: "….a mythical beast popular among the Xianbei people. It was said to look like a horse, sound like an ox, and could guide people through mountains and valleys." They didn't state a name…but it looks suspisciously to me like Pegasus….

What if….these mythical beasts, like griffins, unicorns, dragons and phoenixes were once real. Through hunting, we gradually killed them all and made them into legend. Then myth. We're constantly re-writing our own history, even now, when our logging of history is more advanced than ever. So who's to say? 🙂 

The Beijing Museum was a real eye-opener for me. As always, the scope of Chinese history is very overwhelming, so rather than focus on chronological detail, I hope this taste of archaeology gives some idea of the vastness & variety of history that can be explored. 

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