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Serpent handle found in northern Taiwan last year could be 4,000 years old

Tsing Hua University archaeological team found the piece in 2023

(NTHU Archaeological team FB page photo)

(NTHU Archaeological team FB page photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A snake-shaped piece of art discovered in 2023 by a Tsing Hua University archaeological team said on Friday (Feb. 9) that it is around 4,000 years old.

The piece was excavated at one of the country's most important archaeological sites—Baishatun—in Taoyuan's Guanyin District.

The team said it resembles a cobra, which in ancient times served as "a tool for humans to communicate with divine and ancestral spirits."

Serpents have various symbolic meanings in religions, mythology, and literature. Due to their shedding of skin, they came to symbolize fertility with some ancient people. The university said the piece could have been a handle for a piece of pottery or an art craft used in rituals.