These days everyone has a vision of "Chinese" style - Chinoiserie, theme parks, photos from trips to China, coffee-table books, living in China, being Chinese - regardless of where your impressions of China come from there is and underlying aesthetic that can instantly be identified as "Chinese". And yet here are the SanXingDui people - the "Three Star Mound" site unearthed in the 80's that shook the archaeological record of what China's early civilizations look like. The complexity and unfathomable mystery of the bronze masks, ranging from life-sized to sofa-sized; the intricacy of the jade tools and jewellery; the complete lack of written words; the implications of sacrifice; the ritual and symbolism of human figures; all these suffused with an "alien" quality. Angular features, protruding eyes, pointed ears, painted faces, gold-leaf on beaten bronze, Celtic-looking geometric figures in threes, Scandinavian -looking tree figures, Aztec-looking square carvings, none of it seems to make sense in the context of what we think of as "Chinese" and yet here it is.
The Museum itself is actually a thorough anthropological study, placing the SanXingDui people and their artifacts within the context of a Chinese and a global timeline. The layout is chronological, starting you out with the most ancient relics from the area, giving you a sense of what late neolithic and early bronze cultures were making when the SanXingDui people first emerged. Then you are led to the main hall where you are confronted with the truly unique style of the SanXingDui. It's like nothing you've ever seen before - or it reminds you of things you've seen on other continents. Fascinating stuff here, and definitely worth the two-hour drive to get to. Hire a car (or join a tour group then ditch them at the gate) and get yourself out there for a look at something that can't be found anywhere else in the world.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.