Lady Dai: The Most Perfect Mummy Ever (2000+ years)

lady dai
Lady Dai’s mummified body kept at the Hunan Provincial Museum

Lady Dai

In 163 BC, Xin Zhui passed away. Her skin remained smooth to the touch, her hair was still in place, and type-A blood was still in her veins when they discovered her in 1971.

Xin Zhui, also known as Lady Dai, is a mummified woman from China’s Han era (206 BC-220 AD) who is still soft to the touch, has her own hair, and has ligaments that still bend, much like a living person. She is more than 2,000 years old. She is regarded as the most expertly preserved human mummy in recorded history.

When labourers were excavating close to an air raid shelter outside of Changsha in 1971, they almost literally stumbled upon Xin Zhui’s enormous tomb. More than 1,000 priceless objects, including make-up, toiletries, hundreds of pieces of lacquerware, and 162 carved wooden figures that represented her team of servants, were kept in her funnel-shaped mausoleum. Even a dinner was prepared for Xin Zhui to eat in the hereafter.
While the elaborate construction was stunning and had remained intact for almost two thousand years, what really shocked scholars was Xin Zhui’s body’s physical condition.

When she was discovered, it was discovered that she had maintained the skin of a living person, remaining supple and elastic to the touch. Her eyebrows and eyelashes, as well as the hair on her head and inside of her nostrils, were all discovered to remain in their original locations.

lady dai
Lady Dai : Xin Zhui

She died in 163 BC, so scientists were able to do an autopsy, during which they found that her 2,000-year-old body was in comparable shape to that of a person who had just passed away.

But as soon as the oxygen in the air contacted Xin Zhui’s body, her preserved corpse was undermined, and she started to deteriorate. As a result, the pictures of Xin Zhui that we currently possess do not adequately represent the initial finding.

Researchers also discovered that she had all of her organs, and that type-A blood was still present in her veins. Her official cause of death—a heart attack—was revealed by the presence of clots in these veins.

Gallstones, excessive cholesterol, high blood pressure, and liver disease were among the various illnesses that were discovered throughout Xin Zhui’s body.

Pathologists even discovered 138 undigested melon seeds in Lady Dai’s stomach and intestines while investigating her. It was safe to presume that the melon was her final meal, consumed just before the heart attack that ultimately claimed her life, given such seeds generally take an hour to digest.

So how was the body of Lady Dai so well-preserved?

Researchers give praise to Lady Dai’s magnificent and airtight tomb. Xin Zhui was buried almost 40 feet deep, within the smallest of four pine box coffins, each one nestled inside the other (imagine a Matryoshka set, where the dead body of an old Chinese mummy is revealed until you reach the smallest doll).

Her body was discovered in almost 100 litres of a “unknown liquid,” which tests revealed to be slightly acidic and contain traces of magnesium, and was wrapped in twenty layers of silk fabric.

Her immortal chamber was sealed with clay and packed with moisture-absorbing charcoal to keep out oxygen and germs that cause decomposition. A thick layer of paste-like earth covered the floor. After that, three more feet of clay were used to seal the top, keeping water from entering the building.

In comparison to her burial and death, we know relatively little about Xin Zhui’s life.

Who Was Xin Zhui ?

Li Cang (the Marquis of Dai), a prominent Han official, was married to Lady Dai, who passed away at the young age of 50 due to her propensity for excess. Her fatal heart arrest was thought to have been caused by a lifetime of obesity, a lack of exercise, and a lavish and excessive diet.

Where is Lady Dai’s body kept now ?

She may still have the best-preserved corpse in history, though. The primary subject of their research into corpse preservation is Xin Zhui, who is currently kept at the Hunan Provincial Museum.

lady dai, hunan provincial museum

Since you’ve read this article, you might well be interested in reading about mummified and preserved bog bodies. You must definitely go through Lindow man: Human Sacrifice (Body preserved for more than 1000 years in perfect condition)

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