"Historical artifacts are usually priceless, fragile and not to be touched. But these days, curious visitors can see them, play with them and make them part of their personal collections, all for just 19.90 yuan ($3.10).
In late October, digital versions of the Sword of Gou Jian, one of China’s most important historical artifacts, which has retained its sharpness and whose patterns remain clear after more than 2,000 years, sold out in seconds.
Ever since it was unearthed in Hubei province in 1965, the sword has been one of the prize displays at the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan, the provincial capital. Covered in delicately engraved inscriptions, mysterious black rhombus patterns and blue and turquoise inlay, it is an example of the advanced design and production techniques used to make weapons during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) and originally belonged to a famous king of the Yue State.
The digital version, codeveloped by the museum and tech giant Alibaba, retains every detail of the original. Viewers can zoom in on a perfectly restored version after paying the 19.90 yuan fee through the Alipay platform.