3000 Year Old Gold Mask Exhibits in China

June 15, 2007 Updated: June 15, 2007

The 3000-year-old gold mask excavated at the Jinsha relic site went on exhibition to the public for the first time in Jinsha Relic Museum, Chengdu city on June 9.

The gold mask was excavated from the No. 8 Jinsha archeological site, Chengdu city, China in 2006. It weighs 46 grams and is 19.5cm wide, 11cm high, and 0.4mm thick.

Scientists speculate that the mask was originally attached to another object, and has a history of about 3000 years, which covers the late Shang Dynasty (1700BC ~ 1046BC) to early West Zhou Dynasty (1046BC ~ 771BC).

The Chengdu Archeology Institute says that archeologists have found other peculiar items such as a bronze mask and a jade instrument from the same site, according to a report by Mingpao.

The No. 8 site is located on the south part of the Jinsha Relic Museum, according to Wang Yi, the dean of the Archeology Institute.

Mr Wang says they began the excavation on that site in late 2006, but have had the most important findings in the last 6 years at that site.

Mr Wang says a total of 342 items have been excavated from the site. There are 45 gold items, 88 bronze items, 194 jade items, 8 stone items, 4 ivory items, and 3 pottery items.

Of all the items found, the gold mask is the most precious object, Mr Wang says. The mask is the largest and best preserved gold mask to be discovered for its historical period. When it was first unearthed it was beyond recognition, but it became recognizable after archeologists preserved it.

The mask has a rectangular shape with a flat forehead; two long, knife-shaped protruding eyebrows, a pair of triangular eyes, a triangular nose, a wide mouth, and two rectangular ears with a hole on each earlobe.

A small gold mask was also excavated from the Jinsha site in 2001.