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Buddhist Iron Man Discovered by Nazis Came from Outer Space

It Came From Outer Space

It’s like Indiana Jones, Marvel and 2001: A Space Odyssey all in one story. Scientists have discovered that an “Iron Man” sculpture discovered by Nazis, likely as part of a 1938-39 exhibition to Tibet, was carved out of an iron meteorite fragment that probably fell to earth between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago.

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Scientists at the University of Stuttgart in Germany came to this conclusion after studying the chemical makeup of the sculpture, which matches the Chinga meteorite field discovered in 1913 around the Mongolia/Siberia border. As you’d expect, meteorite isn’t an easy thing to carve (the paper in which the findings were announced called it “basically an inappropriate material for producing sculptures”) so it’s a good guess that the Iron Man sculpture—which might be of the Buddhist god Vaiśravaṇa—was enormously important to whoever carved it.

How’d the Nazis get involved, then? The reason they took the statue might be that it has a swastika on its chest. Lots of ancient cultures, from the Celts to Native Americans, used the symbol, which in Hinduism is a symbol of good—if it’s clockwise, that is. The counterclockwise swastika (the one the Nazis used) is connected in Hinduism to magic and Kali, the goddess associated with empowerment.

So while a newly Zen Tony Stark, on his way back from visiting Thor on Asgard, wasn’t intercepted by Raiders of the Lost Ark‘s Colonel Dietrich, which is kind of what this headline makes it sound like, you have to admit, the story of what actually happened is still pretty unbelievable.

I’m sure someone’s written that fanfic, anyway.

(via: Gizmodo)

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