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Help with Chinese mummy controversy.

To: sci.archaeology,soc.culture.china
From: (klmok)
Subject: Re: Help with Chinese mummy controversy.
Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2002 23:40:47 GMT

On Mon, 10 Jun 2002 16:31:37 -0500, "Abdullah Oblongata"

>Can anyone point me in the direction of information summarizing the current
>accepted body of knowledge concerning the Chinese mummies? What I'm
>paticularly interested in is the potential cultural influences this culture
>may have had on the Chinese, and the Chinese gov's position on such matters.

I am responding based on observation rather than any researched

The only known deliberate enbalming for long term display is Mao's
corpse in his mausoleum at Tienanmen Square.  The enbalming was based
on Russian methods developed for the preservation and display of Lenin
and Stalin.  Like Lenin' Mao's corpse is regularly maintained with
fresh injections of formalin and cosmetically restored.

A number of natural mummifacations (dry air-dessication) are known and
those of buddhists monks, had been taken as a sign of sainthood and
had been worshipped.  The other desert mummification are those from
the Tala Makan desert < > and reported
in depth in the National Geographic. Use keywords China, mummies,
mummmification and corpses to turn up a few interesting links.

The other famous mummy is from the Mawangdui Tombs where the wife of
the corpse of the wife of the Marqui of Dai was found to be incredibly
well preserved due to the unusual design of her burial chamber.  Her
skin was still elastic and her joints articulate.  This is the only
known instance.  Her husband's tomb had not been found to support this
as an accepted method of burial for royalty in her time. That method
has not been found elsewhere and had not appeared in the records on

The attempt to keep the body whole by encasing them in suits of jade
(Prince Lui Sheng and his wife Princess Dou Wan in Hubei Province) was
less successful and all human remains had disintegrated.

 So far  I haven't come across any reports of a royal mummy or coffin
being found. The sites of many royal tombs dating back more than a
thousand years are known in fact and in folklore.  Most of them are
still intact although some may have been looted in the past. I find
this preservation of or lack of disturbance of what must be very
tempting buried treasures in the known and suspected royal tombs

Once a person is dead the Chinese ruling class had as much interest in
preserving the body whole as any other civilization.  But there is no
tradition of dissecting the body or using chemicals, even as simple a
process as adding salt,  to achieve that end.  And there is no body of
Chinese knowledge on how to preserve let alone mummify bodies.

The Chinese government in the past and at present has better thing to
do than to have an interest in let alone a  policy on preserving

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