Sanxingdui Ruins shed light on China's cultural origins
Meng Qingsheng

The Sanxingdui Ruins are considered one of the greatest archaeological finds of humankind in the 20th century. Located in Guanghan in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the ruins are believed to be the remnants of the ancient Shu Kingdom, dating back over four thousand years.

Since 1986, more than 50,000 artifacts have been unearthed at the Sanxingdui Ruins. The Bronze Age culture, dating back to 3,000 years, is known for its intricate masks and artworks.

"The Sanxingdui ruins provide us with a vibrant knowledge map. They have helped redraw the whole picture of China's Bronze Age, making it richer and more vivid. The artifacts, as a result of their special design and shape, give us a lot of archaeological materials to refer to, which is very valuable," explained Professor Huo Wei from the School of History and Culture, Sichuan University.

Experts believe these relics reflect the spiritual world of ancient Shu civilization sacrifices. Ancient versions of many wares can be found in the Central Plains or areas along the Yangtze River.

"The Sanxingdui culture represents southwest China. The Central Plains' political centers are located in a fringe zone. However, it received cultural influence from the Central Plains and developed its unique style. As a result, the Sanxingdui culture is closely related to the cultures of the Central Plains but retains its features," Professor Huo told CGTN in an interview.

Excavators also discovered gold objects, jade wares, ivories and even silk at Sanxingdui. The finding helps raise a crucial question about the origins of Chinese civilization.

Previously, the dominant thought was that it came from the Yellow River Basin in north China. But along with the discovery of sites like Liangzhu, the Yangtze River Basin in the south also proved to be part of the matrix.

"The greatest thing about Chinese civilization is that it's extremely inclusive. We can see that this civilization did not destroy each other, but absorbed and learned from each other so that a unified pattern was finally formed," said the professor.

The Sanxingdui culture remains an enigma for historians as there are no written records. As deeper excavations and research continue, the prospects of unraveling​ more mysteries about this ancient Shu civilization ​increase. 

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