Archaeologists in Sichuan Province, China announce This week, they uncovered evidence of ancient efforts to communicate with fairies. A cache of bronze, jade, and gold was discovered, as well as evidence of ancient sacrificial rituals. Scholars said some of the artifacts are unique objects that refer to the “imaginary world” of ancient Chinese religion and thought. But if you fancy folk religion and Tinkerbell, think again.
The discoveries were made at the famous Sanxingdui Archaeological Site in Guanghan City in southwest Sichuan Province. The real treasure was extracted from sacrificial pits 7 and 8 by a collaborative team of academics from Peking University and Sichuan University. Among the items was a bronze and green jade chest decorated with dragon head handles that was once wrapped in silk. Professor Li Haichao, from Sichuan University, who runs Hole 7, told the Chinese newsletter Agencies that “it would not be an exaggeration to say that the bowl is unique, due to its distinctive shape, exquisite craftsmanship and innovative design.”
The collection of intricate carvings includes mythical creatures, serpent-human hybrids, and bronze heads adorned with golden masks. The iconic program of the carvings, which were mainly located in Hole 8, are “intricate and imaginative.” Zhao Hao, associate professor at Peking University, He said They reflect “the imaginary world that people imagined at the time, and they show the diversity and richness of Chinese civilization.”
The finds are receiving a lot of attention, not only because of the historical significance of the site, but also because the word “fairy” is invoked in media statements. But the word “fairy” may be a misleading term here. The term is derived from Old English (fi(from Old French)fi) and refers to women skilled in magic or witchcraft and things and illusions. In pop culture, the word fairy is most commonly associated in English-speaking countries with Tinkerbell or, if you like to consider yourself an intellectual, Puck: winged magical creatures often associated with wood, down gardens, and desires. In Chinese mythology, entities described as “fairies” are often more powerful spirits associated with specific locations, particularly mountains, rivers, and oceans.
These “spirits” can be beneficial or malicious and are sometimes associated with ex-humans or animals that have been transformed into local spirit guards, ancestral spirits, and deities. Soul Guardian (Jingwei) from the departing mountain pigeon, for example, to the guardian spirit bird when it sank in the Eastern Sea. Former mortal, Strassberg’s Chinese animal He describes her as a “goddess” and a “soul keeper” at the same time, and notes that Daoists consider her a “transcendent” [human]and that in modern China it is “a symbol of a person who refuses to accept defeat.” The Jingwei story is about transformation and that liquidity is only inflated by changing interpretations of its status over time.
The invocation of the word “fairy” in news reports shines bright, not only because of what it tells us about the discovery in question, but also because of the ways in which it reveals the exclusion of fairies from the Western supernatural consciousness. If you are looking for “fairy” in Cambridge English Dictionary You will learn that fairies are “fantasy”. Find the friendliest Christian “angel” and it will be you You find A complete dearth of existential judgments.
All this means that communication with angels, spirits, and fairies are not different types of activities. If talking to fairies sounds funny but offerings to spirits seems predictable, we’re only stumped by the cultural biases of English focused on Christianity. In the irreversible hierarchical pantheon of Anglo-American culture, the fairies sit at the bottom of the sneak arrangement and have no possibility of promotion. But Chinese myths do not share our assumptions and our differences. If the current interpretation was correct, the people in Sanxingdui had been in contact with entities that could easily be described as spirits or deities. The language of the “fairy” exemplified the ways in which Chinese spirits and deities were often human-animal hybrids, but aesthetically, as images from Sanxingdui reveal, they were very different. You won’t find pixie cuts here.
Although scientists haven’t released exact dates for the latest finds, the Sanxingdui ruins are between 3,500 and 4,800 years old, and experts have done just that. He said The artifacts date back approximately 3000-4500 years. They are of great interest for what they reveal about the Shu civilization, which flourished in the region until 316 BC (when the Qin dynasty conquered the region). Archaeological research is the primary method for reconstructing this mysterious civilization because literary references to the state of Shu are largely mythical and derive from the 4th century BC. Huayang Records.
Previous studies of finds from Sanxingdui indicated that the culture that flourished there in the Bronze Age was synchronous with that of the Shang dynasty and shared some elements in common with its myths and religion. Not least the use of bronze offerings as a means of communicating with spirits. (This interpretation of the drill is disputed: Qin Shen argued in 2002 the book The pits may have been burial pits and not sacrificial sites. There are no human remains in the pits).
In a report on a bronze statue found in the Offering Pit 1, Shen Zhongchang and Robert Jones Type that during this period spirits were “particularly honored” in this way in the Shang religion. At the same time, as did Robert Bagley written“There is nothing in Shang archaeology that predisposes us to a bronze sculpture of scale and sophistication” found in Hole 1. Bagley. Argues That “the sacrificial ritual that produced the two [Sanxingdui] drilling [1 and 2 ] It has no exact equivalent anywhere else in Chinese archeology and can only be related in the most general way” to rituals unearthed by archaeologists at other Shang sites. Ran Honglin, of Sichuan Provincial Cultural and Archeology Research Institute, He said A recent discovery is that some elements of the statue were similar to those of the Zhou Dynasty.
In other words, the discoveries from Sanxingdui are very important for what they can tell us about the contact between the various kingdoms in ancient China, the development of mining techniques, and ancient Chinese religious rituals. The discovery of these more intricate and ornate offerings helps color our rough sketch of both cosmology, Shu culture, and what Honglin calls “the early exchange and integration of Chinese civilization.” When Professor Howe spoke of the “world of fairies,” the focus of his statement was actually on the “diversity and richness of Chinese civilization.” Reports on ancient Chinese fairies, though striking, sell both ancient divine spirits and the significance of the finds a little short.
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