Two thousand years from now, what will archaeologists unearth from the ruins of our civilization? Cars? Rice cookers? For sure, examples of “technology” so outdated as to provoke incredulity. The U.S. government believes that future humans — or perhaps extraterrestrial excavators — will uncover still-toxic nuclear waste dumps and therefore plans to create sculptural “spike fields” that will mark dangerous sites for millennia to come.

Will we leave behind anything of beauty and durability? Or will the remains of our supposedly advanced civilization compare poorly with those of the cultures that came before us, whose everyday objects possessed aesthetic value. One hundred fifty such artifacts, recently excavated in Xinjian Uygur Autonomous Region, western China, and dating as far back as the fifth century B.C., are now on display at the Tokyo National Museum in “Brocade and Gold From the Silk Road.” This impressive exhibition marks the 30th anniversary of the normalization of relations between Japan and China.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.