Some remarkable remnants of Bronze Age China have recently come to light in the suburbs around Chengdu. At Sanxingdui, an hour north of the city on the banks of the Yazi River, fragments of bronze, jade and gold were discovered which, when reassembled, formed an outlandish mask with bulging eyes and a distinctive hooked nose. Carbon-dated to between the 12th and 11th centuries BC, human figures, dragons, weapons and clothes were also unearthed, along with a 4-metre-tall ‘Spirit Tree’ entwined by a mythical creature and human hands cast in bronze. Pick of the finds are exhibited in an impressive museum.

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