Out of this world

A Tibetan statue of the god Vaiśravaṇa is believed it was made of the third known piece of the Chinga meteorite thought to have fallen to Earth between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago.

The Stuttgart University team who studied it was able to classify it as an ataxite, a rare class of high nickel, iron meteorite. The statue itself is worth considerable value but being made from such a rare material it is considered invaluable.

Given the extreme hardness of the meteorite the artist or artists who created it may have known their material was special. It could have been produced by the 11th century Ben culture but the exact origin and age of the statue – as opposed to the meteorite it is made from – is still unknown.

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