The Bronze Kneeling Statues with Twisted Heads Unearthed from the No.4 Sacrificial Pit of Sanxingdui Site


2021-10-08 08:39

Lei Yu
Sichuan Cultrual Relics

Abstract:Three bronze kneeling statues with twisted heads have been unearthed from the No.4 sacrificial pit at the Sanxingdui Site, which are identical in size and shape, and presumably belong to the same bronze ware. The statue numbered K4yw:244 is in a kneeling position, leaning slightly to the left front, with stubbed hair and his head slightly lowered and twisted to the right side of his body. His hands are half folded and stretch horizontally to left front. The statue sits on heels with knees and forefoot on the ground. The three-piece clothes of the statue are presented in relief, including  coat,  skirt  and  a  third  piece  of  clothing,  the  hem  of  which  is  exposed  above  the  skirt. The  waistband  is  tied  at  the  front.  The  statue's  center  of  gravity  is  located  at  the  slot  between  his left shoulder and palms, exhibiting a strong sense of weight-bearing. The statue is in a good state of preservation, it can be observed that the limbs and the body were made by an integrated casting method  with  a  lifelike  form  and  rich  details,  showing  a  high  level  of  bronze  casting  technology. The  decorative  patterns  on  the  statue  are  rich  in  diversity,  such  as  interlaced  V-shape  patterns, crest patterns and swallowtail patterns which are all discovered for the first time, while the feather patterns are also distinctive. Both crest patterns and feather patterns symbolize birds, showing the prominent position of birds in the Sanxingdui culture, which is presumably related to the social and cultural beliefs at that time. Swallowtail patterns are commonly seen on bronze wares of the same period in the middle and downstream areas of the Yangtze River, therefore are of great significance to  the  study  of  cultural  exchanges  between  the  Sanxingdui  Culture  and  other  regions.  The  statues are roughly dated to the late Shang Dynasty, identified as men of low status instead of priests.

Keywords: Sanxingdui site, Sacrificial area, No.4 sacrificial pit, Bronze kneeling statue with twisted head

The Chinese version appeared in Sichuan Cultural Relics, 2021(04).



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