Age of 3,800-year-old pottery bird statue confirmed

BEIJING:  Scientists have confirmed that a red pottery bird statue unearthed in China dates back to 3,800 years – the time of the country’s first dynasty.

            The statue which is 16 centimetre long and seven centimetre tall, was painted red with cinnabar, which suggests it may have been an item of worship, researchers said.

            The statue was found at the ruins of the city of Xinzhai in Henan province, discovered in 1979 and believed to be founded by Qi, king during the Xia Dynasty, as early as 2050 BC.

            The statue indicates totemistic bird worshipping in prehistoric China, said Zhao Chunqing from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

            A large number of pottery utensils and stone tools were also discovered in the same pit, as well as an urn decorated with a leaf design and a cone-shaped tripod with pierced decoration, the state-run news agency ‘Xinhua’ reported.

            Xia is believed to be China’s first dynasty. Qi’s son Taikang lost power and was driven out of the city by tribal leader Houyi, who was later defeated by another tribe leader Hanzhuo, researchers said.

            “Previous research suggested that both of these tribes worshipped bird totems, therefore the statue may have come from that period,” said Geng Guangxiang, an archaeologist working on the Xinzhai project.

            Xinzhai continued to serve as the capital during the power struggles until Qi’s descendant Shaokang took control of the Dynasty, he added. (AGENCIES)

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