Thursday, September 27, 2012

Buddhist Statue Acquired by Nazis is Space Rock

11:16 27 September 2012 by Colin Barras 

A deity from the cosmos <i>(Image: Elmar Buchner)</i>
A deity from the cosmos (Image: Elmar Buchner)

One religious statue has a stronger connection than most to the heavens. An 11th-century carving from Mongolia of the Buddhist god Vaiśravana was fashioned from a meteorite fragment, a chemical analysis shows. Its extraterrestrial origins make it unique in both religious art and meteorite science.

The iron-rich statue, 24 centimetres tall, has had a colourful past. It was apparently brought to Germany in 1939 by a Nazi-backed archaeological expedition to search for the roots of Aryanism.

A swastika on the armoured Buddha's breastplate may have been a motivating factor in bringing the statue to Germany. The swastika is a common symbol in eastern culture and decorates many Hindu and Buddhist statues – although the version on the statue is a mirror image of the form favoured by the Nazis.

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Source: New Scientist Magazine.


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