Henan Museum Archaeological Blind Boxes Photo: Taobao Snapshot

Among the dazzlingly discounted products on sale at the annual Tmall Double 11 global online shopping festival underway on Thursday, mysterious archaeological blind boxes have become a new craze among Chinese consumers.

According to media reports, about 100 museums participated in the shopping festival at Alibaba Taobao e-commerce store. Museum sales of cultural and creative products have increased by more than 400% since the first day of presales on November 1, becoming one of the most popular items in the shopping festival.

Many museum cultural products managers told the Global Times that their best-selling items were archaeological blind boxes.

Song Hua, director of the cultural products department of the Henan Museum, told the Global Times on Thursday that about 200,000 blind boxes in the Henan Museum had been sold by noon Thursday.

These archaeological blind boxes resemble those found at blind box vendors like Pop Mart, but instead of things like jewelry or bobbing heads, the mysterious contents inside are models of genuine cultural relics unearthed from archaeological sites such than ancient coins, bronzes and jades. . These boxes are also usually accompanied by implements such as shovels, brushes, gloves and masks that visitors use to “extract” the model relic from a block of clay.

According to Song, blind boxes have been scarce almost every day, so they are sold in limited quantities. Many of the service staff, including Song, became customer service representatives to handle queries from morning to night.

“The craze for the museum’s cultural creation products mainly stems from our country’s cultural self-confidence,” said Ma Xiaolin, curator of the Henan Museum.

According to official Taobao museum stores, each archaeological blind box costs around 20 yuan ($ 3.12) to over 100 yuan. More expensive boxes may include more models of cultural relics or just one more valuable relic. Meanwhile, some blind boxes contain additional gifts for the customer.

For example, the archaeological blind box sold in the Taobao Shop of the Xinjiang Museum also includes cotton seeds from Xinjiang, which have won the approval of many buyers.

On Monday, Tmall also partnered with five museums to select 15 cultural relics for a series of witty archaeological blind boxes. Some museums like the famous Sanxingdui Museum have also launched updates to their archaeological blind boxes, including one that contains the kneeling bronze figure that was just discovered in September.

Currently, the Taoao stores of foreign museums such as the British Museum have not launched this type of blind box.

According to statistics, most customers are in their mid-twenties, which is 40 percent. Many young Chinese people shared videos of themselves “looking for treasure” on the Bilibili video sharing platform, where these videos easily gained millions of views.

“The emerging craze for blind boxes stems from consumers’ longing for the mystery of historical relics. They can acquire feelings of anticipation and pleasure by unwrapping a blind box, and enjoy the pleasure of the excavation process, which is a kind of spiritual liberation, “Lin Wei, an employee of the Sanxingdui museum, told Global Times.

He added that many parents now like to buy the boxes for their children to popularize traditional Chinese culture.

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