Juancheng Meteorite An Apocalyptic, Chinese Valentine
Shandong Province, China
Unlike those meteorites that may have provided life (see lot 53), this meteorite is thought to have taken it away. On February 15, 1997, while it was still Valentines Day in the U.S., a meteorite shower rained down on Shandong Province farmland piercing the roofs of several homes. As result of CNN coverage of the event, Chinese meteorite and fossil dealers flocked to the Juancheng site only to be met by hundreds of schoolchildren already on an extraterrestrial Easter egg hunt.
Juancheng meteorites instantly became an important collectible in China, as this event was believed to have portended the death of Communist Party Chairman Deng Xiao Peng. Said a Chinese man who journeyed to the Juancheng site, Our Leader protects us from all frontiers, and when the sky-tissue which separates us from the heavens is torn by a rain of stones, it is time for Our Leader to go and protect us from his new home in the heavens. Chairman Deng obliged this point of view and died several days later.
While many specimens of Juancheng were given to Communist Party leaders, a large amount of material still made it to the West. This assemblage includes an exemplary complete meteorite covered in fusion crust and an accompanying slice from another mass. The two specimens are held aloft on a customized armature covered with a Lucite dome. The slice reveals veins of impact melt and metalflake scattered throughout the terrestrially stained matrixmost likely the result of schoolchildren and farmers who tried to add a little weight to their newfound bounty by soaking it in water.
Complete specimen: 44 x 25 x 16mm and 46.5 grams. Slice: 34 x 29 x 3mm and 9.5 grams. Lucite Case: 145 x 95 x 215mm (5.5 x 3.5 x 8.5in)