在读 Oracle Bones
Xu Wenqiu stands less than five feet tall, but she has a solidness that is common for middle-aged peasant women. She has calloused hands, sturdy legs, and wide feet. Her cheap tennis shoes are decorated with the American flag. When I explained that I'm researching a story for National Geographic, she says that she has never heard of the magazine. I ask her about the morning back in 1986 when she and the other villagers were digging clay.
"It was the eighteenth day of the sixth month, in the lunar calendar," she says. "I remember it very well. People were digging, and they found the jade at eight o'clock. The next thing I saw was everybody running away. They all disappeared, and so did the jade!"
She laughs, and the crowd of neighbors joins in -- interviews in the ourdoors are never private in a village like Sanxingdui. It's a cool morning, and the rapeseed is in season; around us, fields shimmer a brilliant gold. The woman's simple home is made of mud walls and a tile roof. Nearby, the modern shape of the new Sanxingdui Museum rises above the fields like a mirage. The woman tells me that back in the summer of 1986, all of the jade was returned immediately.
"Some archaeologists came out to inspect it, and then they found that famous gold mask," she says. "But Teacher Chen told us that it was bronze -- he tricked us. He had us cover up the pit, and then later that day the military police came. Really, that mask was gold. Teacher Chen was just afraid that something would happen. That was on the second day.
"That summer we helped them excavate. That was our job. Sometimes we dug, or we used brushes to clean things off. They paid us less than one hundread yuan a month, although they also gave us food. Well, I wouldn't really call it food. It was more like crackers. They were cheap."
I ask her if she thinks that other artifacts are still underground.
"That's hard to say."
"Well, what sort of things do you think might still be there?"
The woman stares at me. There are moments when a journalist catches himself fishing for quates -- leading questions, obvious setups. And then there are moments when a peasant catches a journalist fishing. A sly smile crosses the woman's face.
"Well, if you're so interested, then maybe you should start digging," she says. "I'm not going to stop you."
The crowd laughs. I stammer and try to change the subject; I ask about her husband, who was one of the original excavators and does some part-time maintenance work at the museum.
"He's out today," she says. "You know, his photogragh hangs in the museum. It's a picture of him and some of the other people who dug the pits. That photogragh has been to many countries all over the world. But the museum still pays him only two hundred yuan a month."
"Well, that's not so bad, if he has to work only some of the time."
"What do you mean, it's not bad?" she says. "You probably make that much in an hour!"
More laughter. I ask about their farm: they have one-sixth of an acre; they grow rice in the summer, wheat and rapeseed in the winter, and the vegetables are --
"How much money do you make?" she says suddenly.
"Uhm, it depends. It's not the same every month."
"I bet it's a lot," she says. "You live in Beijing, right?"
I nod my head.
"I can dream for days and I still can't imagine Beijing!"
Laughter.引自 Artifact E The Bronze Head