Two-face bronze head unearthed in central China
Archaeologists in China have discovered a rare bronze head with two faces in a tomb complex in Hubei Province. It is believed to date back 3,000 years to the early Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-771 BC)
"It is the first time that such a sculpture has been discovered from the Western Zhou Dynasty," said Li Boqian, an archeologist with Beijing University.
The bronze head was found in the Ye Jiashan Graveyard in the city of Suizhou, which is believed to hold the bodies of around 150 nobles during the Western Zhou Dynasty. It was found in tomb M111, which made headlines earlier this month when it was first realised as the largest tomb ever found for the period. Local residents gathered around excitedly as archaeologists also uncovered 6 large bells made from bronze.
The bronze head was placed over the head of the owner of the tomb, suggesting that it was believed to hold some significance and may have had a religious purpose. According to Bogian, it may represent a god that was worshipped by the people of the time.
The sculpture, which features large eyes, protruding cheekbones and horns, is similar to masks uncovered from the Sanxingdui Ruins in southwest China's Sichuan Province, which also featured large protruding eyes and unusual facial features. However, other archaeologists believe it more closely resembles another two-faced sculpture found in a Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) tomb in 1989 in Jiangxi Province.
The excavation of Ye Jiashan Cemetery has shed new light on the burial practices of the Western Zhou Dynasty. Along with the rare two-faced bronze head, archaeologists have also uncovered the dynasty’s first painted bronze and a tomb burying a set of 19 dings (cooking vessels) and 12 guis (food containers) that are not typical for burial of a king or nobleman.