Fox News is just brimming with weird stories these days. Among them a statue of Buddha carved out of an iron meteorite.
It sounds like a mash-up of Indiana Jones’ plots, 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.
Stuttgart University researcher Elmar Bucher and his colleagues first analyzed the statue in 2007, when the owner allowed them to take five miniscule samples of it. In 2009, the team had the opportunity to take larger samples from the inside of the statue, which is less prone to contamination by weathering or human handling than the outside where the initial samples were taken.
They found that the statue is carved from a rare class of space rocks known as ataxite meteorites. These mostly iron meteorites have a high level of nickel. The largest-ever known meteorite, the Hoba meteorite of Namibia, is an ataxite meteorite that may weigh more than 60 tons.
The Hoba Meteorite
A little more on the Buddha from 3News in New Zealand
In 1938, zoologist, ethnologist and suspected Nazi Party member Ernst Schaefer led an expedition in Tibet to find the roots of Aryanism. The trip was backed by Nazi chief Heinrich Himmler.
It’s not known exactly how old the statue is, but its style puts it between the eighth and 11th centuries.
Now some may wonder at the swastika prominently displayed on the Buddha’s waistband, and say this is a fake created by the Nazi’s themselves. Not so, as the Nazi’s borrowed the symbol of the swastika and only after the advent of WWII did the symbol become so strongly associated with them. A common symbol for cultures on every continent, its roots are not clear. However its connection to the Theosophist movement founded by Mme. Blavatsky and Henry Olcott out of the Hindu Reform Movement called the Arya Samaj is a likely starting point for how it became incorporated into the occult driven Nazi mind.
Blavatsky argued that humanity had descended from a series of “Root Races”, naming the fifth root race (out of seven) the Aryan Race. She thought that the Aryans originally came from Atlantis and described the Aryan races with the following words:
“The Aryan races, for instance, now varying from dark brown, almost black, red-brown-yellow, down to the whitest creamy colour, are yet all of one and the same stock — the Fifth Root-Race — and spring from one single progenitor, (…) who is said to have lived over 18,000,000 years ago, and also 850,000 years ago — at the time of the sinking of the last remnants of the great continent of Atlantis.”
Blavatsky used “Root Race” as a technical term to describe human evolution over the large time periods in her cosmology. However, she also claimed that there were modern non-Aryan peoples who were inferior to Aryans. She regularly contrasts “Aryan” with “Semitic” culture, to the detriment of the latter, asserting that Semitic peoples are an offshoot of Aryans who have become “degenerate in spirituality and perfected in materiality.”
And so the quirks of history connect two philosophies that could not be more opposed. We can at least appreciate the truly unique quality of the nature of this piece of ancient art and set aside the connotations that have been forced on it.