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October 11, 2012 (TSR) – A mysterious sculpture looted, by a Nazi expedition, from Tibet was carved from a fragment of meteorite that fell to Earth several thousand years ago German scientists from Stuttgart have proved. The metal figure of a male, with a swastika on his breast, is also known as the “Iron Man”.
In 1938 The Ahnenerbe Institute organised a German expedition to Tibet with the support of SS Chief, Heinrich Himmler. Many research papers have been written about the venture but authors invariably ran into difficulties as the majority of documents relating to that mission are still designated as classified.
Conflicting information gave birth to several rumours and conjectures: it is thought by some that the Nazis were in search of the mythical country of Shambhala. Others say that the true objective of the expedition was to look for traces of extraterrestrial civilizations in Tibet…
It is always possible that such goals really were a part of the expedition’s brief, but in the book “The festival of the white scarves: an exploratory expedition through Tibet into Lhasa, the sacred city of God’s country” (Fest der weissen Schleier: Eine Forscherfahrt durch Tibet nach Lhasa, der heiligen Stadt des Gottkönigtums) by Ernst Schäfer, the expedition leader, there is no mention of Shambhala, or even aliens. Archive documents that have been released indicate the expedition’s main purpose was to discover a scientific basis for the theory of “masters and slaves” and to search for the origins of the “master”, or Aryan race.
No matter what it’s true purpose was, many ancient artefacts were looted from Tibet. In the years following the war they mostly disappeared from the Ahnenerbe’s warehouses. It is hard to say where they are now, but from time to time some of the trophies collected by Schäfer’s team do appear in private collections. That is what happened in the case of this unusual statue depicting a sitting man with the swastika on his breast. It’s a relatively small example of ancient art, only 24c high and about 10 kg in weight. One of many strange things about this effigy is that there is no expert consensus about who the ancient sculptor intended to depict with his work.
According to one version, it portrays the Buddhist god, Vaisravana, another theory says it is the portrait a warrior, possibly even Genghis Khan. It is also assumed that it was the swastika on the Iron Man’s chest (that’s how researchers like to refer to the sculpture) that first attracted Schäfer’s attention. For many centuries the swastika was used in several different cultures as a symbol of life, the Sun, light and prosperity. It was only in the 20th century that it was adopted by Hitler’s Germany as the Nazi symbol, leading to its dark and negative modern day connotations.
After the death of its previous owner in 2007, the statue was sold at auction. The buyer, whose name is kept secret, decided to study the mysterious sculpture thoroughly and turned to specialists from the University of Stuttgart. The researchers were highly surprised when chemical analysis revealed that the statue was chiselled from a fragment of the “Chinga” meteorite that fell to Earth near the modern Russian-Mongolian border about 15,000 years ago.
The first report of this meteorite goes back to 1912, fragments were found by gold prospectors in the Tandinsky region at the Urgailyk River and its tributary, the Chinga. Engineer Nikholai Chernevich was the first to collect and bring to St. Petersburg, the strange and massive pieces of metal. He was also the first to correctly guess their origin: back then, researchers at the Academy of Sciences did not believe in the space origin of “native iron, rich in nickel” from Tuva. Meanwhile, Chernevich named one of the mines on the Chinga River, “Meteorite”.
According to Professor Elmar Buchner from the University of Stuttgart, who conducted the research on the “Iron Man”, the sculpture could have been produced about a thousand years ago.
Despite the fact that such discoveries are usually met with a great deal of scepticism, even scientists not involved in researching the statue believe that there is a connection between the “Iron Man” and the meteorite that fell to Earth.
According to American geology professor Qing-Zhu Yin, “not one single object originated on Earth contains such a high concentration of nickel. Chemical elements do not lie.”
Even though the scientific world is now as certain as it can be about the origin of what the sculpture was made of, art historians and religious experts have yet to deliver their own final verdicts. One thing though is clear; the “Iron Man” story is worthy of another whip-cracking, blockbusting plot for Indiana Jones.