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A Bronze Age civilization lost for more than three thousand years was found in China’s southwestern Sichuan province in the summer of 1986. Remains of a large-scale walled settlement in two underground pits filled with a staggering number of objects were discovered at the village of Sanxingdui. The discoveries included familiar objects such as bronze vessels, jade blades and actual elephant tusks, plus a rich array of extraordinary bronze sculptures, such as a monumental bronze tree thirteen feet tall, life-sized standing figures, and head and masks of fantastical supernatural beings with protruding eyes.
Nearly 35 years later, in March 2021, Sanxingdui again shocked the world with the discovery of six more pits containing more spectacular bronzes, creating a huge sensation across China. In this lecture, Dr. Jay Xu will review the 1986 discovery and introduce the results and ongoing process of the present excavation and talk about the material culture of this mysterious Sanxingdui civilization.
Jay Xu has been the Director of the Asian Art Museum since 2008. He received his PhD from Princeton University in early Chinese art and archaeology. Before joining the AAM, he held curatorial positions at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Seattle Museum of Art as well as having hands-on experience at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Asian Art and in the Shanghai Museum of Art. He is the first Asian American to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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