Lady Dai: One of the World's Most Well-Preserved Mummies
Mon, April 19, 2021

Lady Dai: One of the World's Most Well-Preserved Mummies

 

Our history has a long list of discovered mummies which shows how ancient people valued their leaders and the burial itself. One of the most popular is the discovery of Xin Zhui’s body, a mummified woman of China’s Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD). 

 

Credits: All That’s Interesting

 

Also known as Lady Dai, Xin Zhui was known to be the wife of a high-ranking Han official Li Cang (the Marquis of Dai). She died at the young age of 50 about 2,000 years ago due to cardiac arrest. It was believed that her fate was caused by obesity, lack of exercise, and an opulent and over-indulgent diet. When her body was discovered in 1971, archaeologists were surprised to find out that she had maintained the skin of a living person, still soft to the touch with moisture and elasticity. Her original hair, eyebrows, and lashes were found to be in place. 

 

Credits: All That’s Interesting

 

Pathologists have even found 138 undigested melon seeds in her stomach and intestines, which were believed to be her last meal before the heart attack killed her. According to All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they see on the news or read in history books, an autopsy of Xin Zhui’s body showed that her body was in a similar condition to that of a person who had just recently passed.

 

Credits: All That’s Interesting

 

The researchers explained that the reason why her body was so well-preserved is because of the airtight and elaborate tomb in which she was buried. She was also wrapped in 20 layers of silk fabric, while her body was found to have 21 gallons of an “unknown liquid” that was tested to be slightly acidic and containing traces of magnesium. A paste-like soil was also found in her tomb which was packed with moisture-absorbing charcoal and sealed with clay. This has kept both oxygen and decay-causing bacteria out of her eternal chamber.

 

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