The Iron Man
An ancient Buddhist statue that was recovered by a Nazi expedition in the 1930s was originally carved from a highly valuable meteorite.
The story of this priceless object owes more perhaps to an Indiana Jones film script than sober scientific research. It was discovered in Tibet in 1938 by German scientist Ernst Schafer. His expedition was supported by the Nazis, in particular by Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS. Himmler was said to believe the Aryan race originated in Tibet and was keen to recover objects from the area. Brought back to Germany, the statue became part of a private collection and disappeared from view until 2007. A new owner then sought scientific advice on the origins. He turned to Dr Elmar Buchner from the University of Stuttgart. He said that the clue was in small, thumb like impressions caused by the melting of the surface. Further analysis showed that it was a rare ataxite class, a type of meteorite not often found on Earth. Meteorites have been seen as a sign of divine activity across many cultures since the dawn of time. The statue, also known as the iron man, is believed to portray the god Vaisravana. The researchers think it belongs to the pre-Buddhist Bon culture that existed in Asia about 1,000 years ago. "If we are right that it was made in the Bon culture in the 11th Century, it is absolutely priceless and absolutely unique worldwide," observed Dr Buchner.
Neither the person who carved it or the Nazis had any idea it was made from such a rare substance.
Kemo D. 7