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This bronze figure has a circular opening with a collar where, one assumes, a head would have been attached. The pose looks aggressive, but it's hard to tell much more about it.

What we do know is that bronze was very costly to produce, so this figure must have been important to the people who made it.

One of the great mysteries is how people at Sanxingdui or Jinsha were able to make such a bronze piece—after all, no foundries have been found near either site. It's possible the bronze objects were imported from a place or culture that did have metalworking technologies, but the imagery and designs found at Sanxingdui or Jinsha are unique to them.

The assumption, however, is that most of the raw materials were, in fact, imported. Some ores may have come from thousands of miles away – a very expensive proposition.

Suzanne Cahill

You had to get the different metals; you had to heat them at a high temperature to pour them into the mold, which you had to have made beforehand. And in the Central Plain, bronze was pretty much a monopoly of the Imperial Family. They used it overwhelmingly for ritual and for war. So where the rulers could have decided that they wanted to use their bronze to make farming implements, to make life easier for the farmer and make farming much more efficient, that's not what they did. The overwhelming tonnage of bronze goes into implements for ritual and for war. And that is also true in Sanxingdui. The overwhelming weight of bronzes that we've found go into ritual implements, suggesting that they were willing to spend enormous amounts of capital, and also of human labor, to produce these things.

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