Alloy Buddha statues unearthed from ancient tombs in China’s Shaanxi

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Two alloy Buddha statues and a number of items were excavated from a group of ancient tombs dating to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, the Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology said Friday.

Alloy Buddha statues unearthed from ancient tombs in China's Shaanxi
The standing gold and bronze statue of Sakyamuni from Tomb M3015 
[Credit: Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology]

The tombs were located in Chengren Village, Xianyang City. Six tombs were excavated in May this year. Two alloy Buddha statues were found in a tomb chamber, one a statue of Shakyamuni measuring 10.5 cm in height, and the other a five-Buddha statue standing 15.8 cm tall.

Alloy Buddha statues unearthed from ancient tombs in China's Shaanxi
The standing gold and bronze statue of Sakyamuni from Tomb M3015 
[Credit: Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology]

Alloy Buddha statues unearthed from ancient tombs in China's Shaanxi
Five-Buddha statue from Tomb M3015 [Credit: Shaanxi Provincial
Institute of Archaeology]



Alloy Buddha statues unearthed from ancient tombs in China's Shaanxi
Zhushu pottery recovered from Tomb M3015 [Credit: Shaanxi Provincial
Institute of Archaeology]

Alloy Buddha statues unearthed from ancient tombs in China's Shaanxi
Some burial objects recovered fromTomb M3015 [Credit: Shaanxi Provincial
Institute of Archaeology]

The two Buddha statues are both copper-tin-lead alloy according to archaeological analysis, said Li Ming, a researcher with the Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology. More items including potteries and bronzeware were unearthed from the tombs.

Alloy Buddha statues unearthed from ancient tombs in China's Shaanxi
Tomb M3015, at Chengren Cemetery [Credit: Shaanxi Provincial
 Institute of Archaeology]

“The owner of the graveyard was possibly a county official or landlord, who had certain family influence and economic might,” Li said. “The findings of the Buddha statues are of great significance to the study of the introduction of Buddhist culture to China and its localization in the country,” Li added.

Source: Xinhua News Agency [December 10, 2021]

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