The statue at right has a very storied history. It’s a depiction of Vaiśravana, a key figure in Buddhist belief, believed to have been crafted a thousand years ago from one piece of iron.
It came to the West courtesy of the Nazis, who in the late 1930s spent a lot of time digging in various places around the world in an attempt to prove that they really were the Master Race. As you might notice, this statue has a swastika on it, although not the Nazi version, so off to Germany it went.
And in Germany it stayed, essentially, largely due to the fact that Mongolia and Germany don’t have the greatest diplomatic relations. But something good does come out of this story: It turns out that this was carved from a chunk of a historically important meteorite.
More specifically, it’s a piece of the Chinga Meteorite, which struck the earth sometime between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago. Chemical analysis of the statue pretty much confirms that this sacred object is also fairly scientifically important.
It probably won’t advance our studies of meteorites or anything, but it is pretty cool than an object with such an elaborate history already turns out to be a part of history going back much farther than we thought. It actually makes sense within the context of Mongolian culture: There’s a lot of evidence that Asian cultures were able to observe meteorites, and knew them when they found them, even if the Chinga strike happened nine thousand years before this was carved.
Also, this thing is probably the key to an ancient temple built by aliens or something, so maybe the Germans should consider locking it up a little more tightly than they did before.