A variety of figurative and abstract animal images have been unearthed at the Sanxingdui site, depicting real, legendary, local, and exotic creatures. Of all the figurines found, birds were the most common. Legends states that two of the first kings of the Shu state were named after birds. The mouth and area around the eyes on the large bird head are coated in vermillion. There are three small holes at the bottom of the neck, suggesting that this was initially attached to something else.
Most of small-sized Sanxingdui bronze birds were initially cast on bronze tree branches. Usually they have big tales pointing up heavily and a bronze trace in in their mouth. In order to keep balance, their legs are usually very strong. This bird's tale and wings are all forked. showing that it might be flying. It's a pity that part of its feet is missing.
Details of the bronze tree sculpture. There is one bronze bird standing on the top of each branch. In Chines legends, birds carry the sun on their backs, rising from a tree in the East and resting in a tree in the West. Therefore trees and birds are both symbols of the sun. Sanxingdui's tall bronze tress sculpture is a reflection of their sun worshiping.
As the major element that forms the image of dragon, snakes is seen as "little dragon" in China and is widely used as decorations for bronzes. This snake is composed of different sections with scales scattered on its body. The hollowed knife-shaped wings on its head and back might suggest it can fly. The circle buttons on its neck and abdomen could be a proof that this snake was originally a decoration on a certain object.
There are more than 5,000 shells found in Sanxingdui site. These shell coins were placed in a bronze wine vessel when they were found. They all came from tropical or subtropical zones, especially around Indian Ocean, but not oceans near China, which proves that Sanxingdui culture had certain communication with South Asia.
More than 80 raw elephant teeth were found in Sanxingdui while more than 1,000 were found in Jinsha site, Sanxingdui's direct successor. They are determined to be from Asian elephants. Sine only male Asian elephants have teeth, those teeth must be from a large group of elephants. However elephants don't exist in current Chengdu Plain which suggests those teeth might come from barter. But there are records of elephants in Chengdu Plain in ancient books, so the origin of these teeth is still a mystery.
资料提供 — 于惠东