September 20, 2017

Artifacts reveal Pyu civilization in China

Statues wear Bramar longyis in the traditional style of Khar-pone-sa-khya wut Nee, with the sheet of the longyi hanging in front of the lower body.
Statues wear Bramar longyis in the traditional style of Khar-pone-sa-khya wut Nee, with the sheet of the longyi hanging in front of the lower body.
Two wooden reliefs displayed at a museum in Wanding, Yunnan Province, are totally the same as two of the five dancing bronze statues of Brahmar called Pyu of Myanmar.
Two wooden reliefs displayed at a museum in Wanding, Yunnan Province, are totally the same as two of the five dancing bronze statues of Brahmar called Pyu of Myanmar.
Pyu beads displayed at a museum in Wanding,  Yunnan Province.
Pyu beads displayed at a museum in Wanding,
Yunnan Province.
Pyu-era earthen pots and beads unearthed at the site of a hydro-electric power project in Yunnan Province in 2006.
Pyu-era earthen pots and beads unearthed at the site of a hydro-electric power project in Yunnan Province in 2006.

On a recent trip to China’s Yunnan Province bordering Myanmar, I was surprised to see Pyu-era artifacts displayed at a museum in Wanding. I felt that I had come across our lost relatives in a foreign country.
Reeling with delight at seeing Pyu-era beads and earthen pots, I asked the curator of the museum, which displays artifacts of ancient ethnic minorities of China, how they were obtained. He replied that they were unearthed at the site of a hydro-electric power project in Yunnan Province in 2006.
Though the curator insisted the beads and earthen pots were used by ancient Jingpo, an ethnic minority of both China and Myanmar, I truly believed that they were artifacts of Myanmar’s Pyu era of more than 1,500 years ago, having previously seen such items in Myanmar.
While the curator was conducting us around the museum, I also found two wooden reliefs, one depicting dancing and the other a traditional drum.
The curator said the wooden reliefs depicted the ancient ethnic Dai people in the city. But, I felt that these figures were familiar.
Upon arriving back in Myanmar, I showed the pictures of the beads, earthen pots and reliefs to Bhone Tint Kyaw, a prominent historian of the Pyu era.
“Yes, of course, the beads and earthen pots are artifacts of the Pyu era,” Bhone Tint Kyaw said.
“The reliefs are…totally the same as two of the five dancing bronze statues of Brahmar called Pyu found near Pha-ra-mar pagoda in Sri Kestra city in central Myanmar.”
The statues discovered in Myanmar are in Bramar longyis (sarong) but the Dai people in Yunnan Province do not wear longyis, he added.
The artifacts unearthed at the hydro power station site in 2006 indicate that the Pyu people were living in Yunnan in the past.
Bhone Tint Kyaw also quoted Chinese historical records, saying that Pyu people were living in Yunnan Province around 226 A.D.
The ruins of the three Pyu city states in Myanmar were designated as a UNESCO world heritage site last year, coinciding with an exhibition where some statues excavated from the Pyu sites were displayed for the first time at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
In Myanmar, people mainly know of the three Pyu city states of Sri Kestra, Beikthano and Hanlin and their ruins, however, ancient Pyu cities were located across the country.
Ornaments and utensils made of stone, bronze, iron, gold and earth excavated from the ancient cities show the Pyu people possessed highly polished artistic skills that are now extinct.

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