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Buddha heads found in Colfax

Are they artifacts or just something discarded?

That’s what Jim Bowers of Colfax wants to know about 230 Buddha heads, some of which are on display in his shop called Better Than Naked.

Hermann Henry of Colfax recently found the thumbnail-sized heads, which look like game pieces, in an old Chinese settlement site near the town, Bowers said. A contact card from The Union was left at Henry’s job site, but he did not call for comment.



“He doesn’t want to talk to the press,” Bowers said. “I made him a T-shirt that says ‘I’m not prejudiced, I hate everyone equally.'”

Bowers said Henry found about 500 pieces at the site, all of which appear to be porcelain or perhaps a porcelain and ivory mix. Through research done on the Internet and at the library, Bowers said he thinks the heads might date back to the 12th Century.




Bowers’ quest has raised the interest of Gregg Todd of Colfax, who is also researching the Buddha heads.

“I’ve been looking but I haven’t found anything yet,” Todd said Monday. “I’ll let you know if I do.”

The figures are very smooth, other than the Buddha carving on them, and may have been in water a long time, Bowers said. “They’re very hard and they aren’t anything current,” said Bowers, who has collected historical things in the Sierra along with Henry for years.

“They’ve got me absolutely obsessed,” Bowers said. “It’s just so mysterious.”

You can see some of the Buddha heads at Bowers’ store in the old railroad station in downtown Colfax.

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To contact senior staff writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.


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