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Monday, April 25, 2022

The Mystery Of Lady Dai, One Of The Best-Preserved Mummies In The World

Lady Dai is considered one of the world's best-preserved mummies despite her quite gruesome appearance.

Others, it's assumed, disintegrate with the slightest movement. In another case, she was so well-kept that physicians could do an autopsy more than 2,100 years after her death, resulting in the most comprehensive medical profile of an ancient person ever created! 

Not only that, but they were able to reconstruct her death and life, down down to her blood type, which was Type-A. Even though her face is swollen and misshapen, her skin is still soft to the touch, there are no visible symptoms of rigour Mortis, and her arms and legs can still bend. Her internal organs are still functional, and blood flows through her veins. Her finger and toe prints were distinct, and she wore a wig pinned to the back of her head with a hair clasp.

During the Western Han era of ancient China, Lady Dai, or Xin Zhui (辛追), was the noble wife of Li Cang (利蒼), the Marquis of Dai and Chancellor of Changsha Kingdom. She had no doubt had a lavish lifestyle. Her tomb was filled with items that only the wealthiest of her time could afford, including hundreds of richly embroidered silk garments, skirts, a silk sachet filled with spices, flowers, boxes of cosmetics, more than a hundred lacquerware, musical instruments and figurines of musicians, as well as prepared meals and a variety of other items. She adored having her musicians provide entertainment for events and her delight. Nonetheless, she may have liked performing music, particularly the qin, which has long been linked with elegance and intelligence. She also desired to live the same way in the hereafter. However, it appears that the same excellent life killed her as well.

Lady Dai rumoured to be a beauty in her youth, gorged herself on every culinary delicacy, even scorpion soup, until her frail frame broke beneath the weight. Her cane was also portrayed in the artwork of her funeral flag. She might have been unable to walk by herself due to her sedentary lifestyle, coronary thrombosis and arteriosclerosis. She did, however, have a fused disc in her spine, which would have caused considerable back discomfort and trouble walking, according to her autopsy.

Moreover, she also had several internal parasites, most likely from eating undercooked food or poor hygiene. She had blocked arteries, severe heart disease, osteoporosis, and gallstones, one of which became trapped in her bile duct and made her situation worse.

In any event, she died in 168 BC at the age of 50. Her final meal was melons, and she died of a sudden heart attack caused by years of bad health: 138 seeds were discovered in her stomach, intestines, and esophagus. She died during the summer when fruits and melons ripen, and the presence of melon seeds in her stomach suggests she died two to three hours after consuming the fruit.

Ironically, her grave includes a wealth of information about health, well-being, and longevity in books and tablets written in Chinese characters. On the pills are formulas for various traditional Chinese medicine treatments, including headache, paralysis, asthma, and sex.

The corpses of Lady Dai and her husband and a young man most generally presumed to be her son were discovered at Mawangdui and are regarded as one of the most significant archaeological finds of the twentieth century, not simply for their historical worth. Archaeologists were able to piece together how the nobility lived during the Hun period based on the building of the tombs and numerous funeral objects. Archaeologists were able to reconstruct a surprisingly detailed history of the Western Han dynasty's diet, agricultural practices, hunting methods, domestication of animals, food and its preparation, cultivation, as well as structural insight into the development of one of the world's great and enduring cuisines, from the various meals inside the tomb and even the contents of Lady Dai's stomach.




Expensive and ornate funerals were frequent throughout the Western Han Dynasty. One factor was the belief in the immortality of the soul: it was thought that the dead lived in another realm and required food and shelter just like the living. As a result, the dead should get the same consecration as the living, and all of life's essentials should be transported into the grave for use in the hereafter.

By Joshua Marasigan

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