By Diara Marie Fowler — Guest Writer, California State University San Bernardino
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 — Over the weekend, the City of San Bernardino continued to set another cultural milestone with the opening of the new Kwai Tun Yau Museum, which is located within a short distance of the San Bernardino International Airport. The unveiling of the prehistoric civilization culture was followed by a tour of the exhibit showcasing a select number of the SanXingDui tribe’s elegant artifacts, some dating back as far as four thousand years. Sponsors for the museum are California Center For Cultural And Arts and World Pre-Ancient Civilization Research Center.
Collections of rare artifacts from a lost advanced ancient civilization from the 12th–11th centuries BC on exhibit. Called the “SanXingDui”, they were exceptional at metal working and their works include the world’s oldest life-sized standing human statue.
This civilization mysteriously disappeared around 3,000 years ago and no one knows what happened but there are a few theories. This advanced ancient culture has challenged traditional stories of how Chinese culture began.
Of the many discoveries, the bronze sculptures are what is exciting the world – an impressive technical ability present nowhere else in the world at the time and more outstanding than the Terracotta Army. This is a highly sophisticated and completely unique bronze age civilization in Sichuan, China.
The opening of the Kwai Tun Yau Museum is not only significant for its overall cultural up close experience and uniquely mesmerizing pieces, but for the research center as well.
“One of my wishes is to be able to answer more questions. When more people visit we can get more anthropologists, scientists, and archeologists together and figure it out,” said Museum Director Lan Chen.
What makes the museum so rare is the fact that it is set up to display three different types of pre ancient civilizations within China, the HongShan, LiangZhu, and SanXingDui tribes.
The grand opening of the museum was exceedingly strong as many knowledgeable specialists and community members joined, including, San Bernardino Mayor John Valdivia, paleontologists from CSUSB, a bevy of local students, and exciting artistic enthusiasts.
“Everything went extremely smooth with the opening of the museum, especially because there are so many Chinese Americans locally that took care of me, so things went very smooth and I was comfortable,” said Mr. Zhu, a pre ancient civilization collector.
“The SanXingDui had a fine eye for metal work and specialized in building artifacts out of silver, jade, and bronze. Their architecture and farming were also advanced. They knew to build their pieces from bronze and jade, predominantly to preserve for thousands and thousands of years,” said Director Chen.
Some of the featured items included musical instruments and metal masks that date back 10,000 years — “The lion statue stood out to me as if there were not two cultures from the bottom to the top part, the bottom was more smooth while the top had a more intricate look. Is this influenced by two cultures, or is this about something else?” stated observer Mikel J. Fenelon.
“I think that there’s a lot were going to learn from investing in this technology because I think this is something that we’re not even aware of, this is too sophisticated for us to fathom,” said Brain Sherman, attendee.
The future is bright for the museum as their plan within the next few years is to — “bring in more anthropologists, human scientists, and history together to study the pre ancient sector of time. In the last four years of China’s industrialization, China has become more and more modern having major breakthroughs and discoveries. These discoveries don’t just belong in China, they need to be shared with the world. So it’s not just Chinese history, it’s world history,” said Mr. Zhu.