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1 January 2005
3,000-year-old woodcarving discovered in China

The Chengdu Archeological Team discovered a 3,000-year-old painted woodcarving of a head during the second phase of excavation at the Jinsha site's ritual area. It is the oldest and most intact sculpture over its type ever discovered in southwest China's Sichuan Province. According to Wang Yi, curator of the Chengdu Municipal Museum, the woodcarving was found buried about three meters below the earth's surface. It is 80 centimeters long, with exaggerated facial features carved in bas-relief. The eyes and brows are painted with bright colors. A coronet adorns the top of the head, and a braid at the back is similar to the bronze head sculpture unearthed at the Sanxingdui site. The pointed bottom indicates that it may have been thrust into the earth for ritual and religious ceremonies. "This head sculpture is more than 3,000 years old and represents the highest level of woodcarving at that time," said Wang. "Furthermore, woodcarvings excavated in other places nationwide are not as well preserved as this."
     The second phase of the dig in the Jinsha ritual area has been going on for about two months, and is entering its final stages. The excavated area, about 100 meters away from the ritual pit discovered in 2001, covers about 1,000 square meters.Together with the carved head, numerous stone and jade vessels, pottery and deer bones and teeth were found in the ritual area. The items are all believed to be between 2,800 and 3,200 years old. Since 2001, more than a thousand vessels made of gold, jade, stone, bronze and ivory have been unearthed at Jinsha.

Sources: China.org.cn, China View (30 December 2004)

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