The Bizarre Saga of the Space Buddha

It’s well known that the Nazis sent out multiple expeditions to far flung corners of the world searching for “occult” knowledge which would prove their ridiculous Master Race theory. In the late 1930s one such expedition returned to Germany with  the “iron man” statue of the god Vaiśravana which was found in Mongolia.

We will never really know why the Nazis found this statue particularly significant, but recently it’s been announced that this nearly 900 year old statue is actually quite special. It’s made from a meteorite fragment:

A thousand-year-old Buddhist statue taken from Tibet in 1938 by an SS team seeking the roots of Hitler’s Aryan doctrine was carved from a meteorite, scientists say.

In a paper published in an academic journal, German and Austrian researchers recount an extraordinary tale where archaeology, the Third Reich and cosmic treasure are intertwined like an Indiana Jones movie.

Called the “Iron Man” because of the high content of iron in its rock, the 24-centimetre-high statue was brought to Germany by an expedition led by Ernst Schaefer, a zoologist and ethnologist.

Backed by SS chief Heinrich Himmler and heading a team whose members are all believed to have been SS, Schaefer roamed Tibet in 1938-9 to search for the origins of Aryanism, the notion of racial superiority that underpinned Nazism.

Weighing 10.6 kilograms, the statue features the Buddhist god Vaisravana seated, with the palm of his right hand outstretched and pointing downwards.


It is a particularly rare kind of meteorite called an ataxite, which has iron and high contents of nickel, according to the study, published in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

“The statue was chiseled from an iron meteorite, from a fragment of the Chinga meteorite which crashed into the border areas between Mongolia and Siberia about 15,000 years ago,” said investigator Elmar Buchner of Stuttgart University.

“While the first debris was officially discovered in 1913 by gold prospectors, we believe that this individual meteorite fragment was collected many centuries before.”

The exact dating of the carving cannot be established accurately, but its style links it to the pre-Buddhist Bon culture of the 11th century.

The statue ultimately ended up in a private collection and experts say it’s worth about $20,000. But if it turns out the statue is older it could be worth much, much more.

Now that my friends is a treasure. Anyone know of any flights to Mongolia?

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