Egyptians are well known for their mummies, but it seems that China can now claim the world’s best-preserved mummy. Researchers were even able to examine her blood after two millennia, which is type A.
In 1971, when workers were digging an air raid shelter in Changsha, Hunan Province, they came across a tomb belonging to The Lady of Dai, who lived during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE–220 AD). Her physical condition when she was found astounded researchers.
Lady Dai, also known as Xin Zhui, was the wife of the Marquis of Dai. Her tomb was discovered 40 feet (approx. 12 m) underground inside a hill known as Mawangdui.
Inside her massive tomb, many things were discovered. There were more than 160 carved wooden figurines that represented her servants, 100 silk garments, 182 pieces of lacquerware, makeup, and toiletries.
According to reports, when her body was discovered, it was covered in 20 layers of silk and immersed in a mildly acidic liquid and then sealed within four coffins. The coffins were filled with charcoal and sealed with clay. Her tomb was made airtight and watertight so that bacteria could not thrive inside.
After her body was analyzed, scientists believed that she died at the age of 50 from heart disease due to her lavish lifestyle, and it was deduced that the last thing she ate was a melon, or two.
Scientists also found that Xin Zhui, nicknamed “The Diva Mummy,” was overweight by today’s standards. Moreover, it was believed that she had suffered from many illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, clogged arteries, liver disease, gallstones, back pain, and also a severely damaged heart.
Though she died more than 2,100 years ago, her well-preserved state stunned scientists—her skin was soft to the touch, all her hair and eyelashes were still intact, and her arms and legs are still flexible. Scientists also discovered her internal organs still intact with her veins still having type-A blood.
The well-preserved Lady Dai remains a mystery. Scientists still have many unanswered questions on how she remained in such a state. But one thing is for sure—this is one of the world’s best-preserved mummies.