Young video blogger reproduces gold mask, stick recently unearthed at Sanxingdui Ruins site

(People's Daily Online) 14:13, November 25, 2021

25-year-old Wang Xinge, a video blogger and also a craft lover, made copies of a gold mask and a gold stick—the originals both being ancient cultural relics unearthed at the prehistoric Sanxingdui Ruins site in Guanghan City, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, after making use of 500 grams and 600 grams of gold, respectively.

Wang Xinge reproduces a gold stick unearthed in a pit at the Sanxingdui Ruins site. (File photo)

It took the young man 15 days to finish the gold mask replica. A fragment of the original gold mask was unearthed in a pit at the ruins site in March this year. The fragment weighs 280 grams, with one appraisal suggesting that the complete gold mask might have weighed more than 500 grams in all.

In order to recreate the gold mask to the greatest extent he could, Wang bought a 500-gram gold bar from a bank. He then used a 1.8 kg hammer to beat the bar tens of thousands of times before turning it into a gold sheet, having then transformed the sheet into the shape of a mask. The hollow eyes, high nose, and round ears of the mask were crafted to look like the original piece as much as possible, with Wang having made full use of historical records related to the artifact in an effort to reproduce the artifact in a full likeness.

After the replica was completed, Wang produced a video that demonstrated the step-by-step process he undertook to make the replica and posted it on the video sharing platform Bilibili. The video gained more than 1 million likes on the platform. Encouraged by the success, Wang decided to take on another task by copying a recently discovered gold stick, which was also unearthed at the Sanxingdui Ruins site. In this case, he used 600 grams of gold and spent four months to perfect his creation of the gold stick replica. After he finished his replica, he also made a video showcasing the production process and shared it with users on Bilibili.

Photo shows fish patterns carved onto the gold stick. (File photo)

Altogether, the videos were watched more than 10 million times by Chinese and foreign viewers, with some foreign internet users having also showered much praise on the crafts created and displayed by Wang, while expressing their eagerness to learn more about traditional Chinese culture.

Wang has paid great attention to all the finer details involved in the manufacturing of the replicas. When he was making the gold stick replica, Wang encountered difficulties when carving two parallel lines on the stick that had a distance of less than 1 millimeter in between. Though he had practiced all the necessary carving techniques for a period of one month beforehand, he was still unable to carve the two parallel lines that seemed to almost meld into one. Then, he tried it again by replacing the knife he had been using with one made of ox bone and was finally able to successfully carve the two parallel lines on the stick.

The gold stick consisted of a wooden staff and a layer of gold belts that was adhered to the wooden staff. Wang picked up the wooden staff from a place near the Sanxingdui Ruins site, thinking it might inject some spirit into the replica. The gold belt was stuck onto the wooden staff with fish bubble glue, an adhesive that was also available in ancient times.

For Wang, the process for making the replicas was like having a conservation with the ancient craftsmen that lived 3,000 years ago. “I know they must have crafted the artwork with the same scrupulous attention as I have, and they must have been astounded by the beauty of the piece when they were finished,” said Wang.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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