It sounds like Indiana Jones’ adventure, but German researchers say a heavy Buddha statue brought to Europe by the Nazis was carved from a meteorite that likely fell 10,000 years ago along the Siberia-Mongolia border.
The Nazi “iron man” sculpture is approximately 10-inch-tall, 24-pound and depicts a Buddha with a scale armor adorning a swastika at the center. The statue certainly has some pretty dubious provenance! Its origin is rumored to have been found during Nazi expeditions in Tibet and perhaps, an effort to establish Germany’s Aryan roots.
Researchers claim the statue may be the Buddhist god Vaisravana, also known as Jambhala who belonged to the Bon culture of the eleventh century. In Buddhism, Vaisravana, the god of wealth or war. He is often depicted holding a lemon, the symbol of wealth, or a moneybag in his hand. The statue of iron man holds similar shape unidentified object in his hand as well.
Mystery of the Iron Man Buddha
German researchers suggest that Nazis brought a heavy Buddha statue to Europe which was carved from a meteorite that fell almost 10,000 years ago along the Siberia-Mongolia border.
Researchers call the sculpture the “iron man” of the unknown age as they are unsure about the exact age. However, according to the researchers, the statue belongs to the time between 8th and 10th centuries. The idol depicts a man perched with his legs tucked in and holding something in his left hand. The man is probably a Buddhist god as he has a swastika on his chest that indicates a symbol of luck.
According to one of the reports written in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science, state “One can speculate whether the swastika symbol on the statue was a potential motivation to displace the ‘iron man’ meteorite artefact to Germany.”
Origin of Mysterious Statue
The sculpture of the iron man first came to Germany in 1938-1939 after a zoologist and ethnology Ernst Schafer carried out an expedition to Tibet. Schafer was sent for the mission by the Nazis to find the roots of Aryan origin. The idol was then passed to a private owner.
In 2007, Stuttgart University researcher Elmar Bucher and his colleagues analyzed the statue, and the owner allowed them to take five small samples of it. In 2009, the team got a chance to take larger samples from the inside of the statue which was less contaminated and weathered as compared to those from the outside.
The samples revealed that the statue was carved from a rare species of space rocks called as ataxite meteorites. These meteorites are known for high nickel content. The chemical analysis of the samples further revealed that they are a close match for a renowned space rock scattering that happened on the Siberia and Mongolian border.
The Chinga meteorite field has almost 250 meteorite fragments which are small except for two fragments, which were more than 22 pounds (10 kg) in weight. Scientists were of the opinion that the Chinga meteorite fell almost 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. The field was first found in 1913, but the statue’s existence indicates that people were mining the area for artefacts before the actual meteorite mining.
Many cultures use meteor to create daggers and jewelry. Buchner and his colleagues informed that worshipping of meteorites is also common in many ancient cultures. However, carving a Buddha is certainly unique.
Buchner in a statement said, “The Iron Man statue is the only known illustration of a human figure to be carved into a meteorite, which means we have nothing to compare it to when assessing value. Its origins alone may value it at $20,000; however, if our estimation of its age is correct and it is nearly a thousand years old it could be invaluable.”
The Nazi Connection
The one question that makes us ponder is that why did the Nazis displace the statue? The exact reason for this issue stays unanswered. However, we can speculate the reasons to some extent!
Maybe the Nazis knew about the meteoric properties of the statue from the local people. The other cause could be the use of swastika on the chest of the idol.
The symbol was an obsession for Hitler and his cronies, which could be the reason why the Nazis took the statue to Germany.
The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit word svasti which means well-being and happiness. Many cultures like the Greek, Persian, Celtic, Egyptian, Native Americans and some religions like Hinduism and Buddhism are known to use this symbol.
Hinduism follows the swastika symbol drawn in a clockwise pattern. Hindus relate the symbol to the Sun and Lord Vishnu (the creator of the world). The statue adorned a swastika on its armor. The Nazis followed the counterclockwise pattern of the symbol. In Hinduism, the counterclockwise symbol of the swastika is related to magic and Goddess Kali (goddess of dark, violent and empowerment).
Perhaps, whatever the connection is, the fact remains that the iron man is certainly extraordinary and mysterious.
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