| Lady Dai |
|Name(s)||Lady Dai (Xin Zhui)|
|Status||Elite - Lady of Han Dynasty|
|Date(s)||ca. 213 BC to 163 BC|
|Location||Mawangdui, Changsha, Hunan Province, China|
Lady Dai, formally known as Xin Zhui, was the wife of a marquis ( a nobleman ranking above a count and below a duke) named Li Cang in the Han Dynasty. Her tomb had been discovered inside of a hill in Hunan, China known as the Mawangdui mountain. Her tomb was sealed airtight with clay and charcoal, which is a notable factor when acknowledging her remarkable preservation which is located at the Hunan Provincial Museum in Changsha, China.
Lady Dai is noted as the single best preserved mummy to have been found, not with regards to her physical appearance, but in completeness of her body. Her internal organs, including her brain are perfectly intact as well as her tissue soft to the touch and her limbs are flexible. Her hair is still in tact and there is evidence of Type-A blood left in her veins. Her body was left in such a perplexing condition that an autopsy was performed.
Lady Dai (Xin Zhui) was found in an airtight tomb 12 metres underground, locked inside four layers of coffins. A thick layer of white paste-like soil was on the floor and her body had been swaddled in 20 layers of silk. Five tons of moisture absorbing charcoal was packed around the vault. The top was sealed with 3 feet of additional clay. Substances of any type were prevented from traveling in or out of the sealed tomb which allowed for decay-causing bacteria that was already trapped inside to quickly die due to the lack of oxygen. Destructive ground water was not able to penetrate the firm barriers. While archaeologists and pathologists have not determined all residing factors behind her state of preservations they have concluded these were quite relevant and consequential elements. The amount of hard work that went into sealing and preserving Lady Dai's body, was a cool, highly humid, almost sterile, environment.
Lady Dai had passed away due to a heart attack at the age of 50, caused by obesity, lack of exercise and an over-indulgent diet. While the pathologists were studying her organs, they discovered 138 undigested melon seeds in her oesophagus, stomach, and intestines. Since melon seeds take about 1 hour to digest scientists concluded she died shortly after consuming melons.
Archaeologists had discovered Lady Dai's burial chamber was filled with more than 1000 precious goods, such as fine fabrics, bizarre delicacies (i.e., caterpillar fungus),100 silk garments, 182 pieces of lacquer ware, and 162 carved wooden figurines that symbolized a large army of servants who would tend to her needs in the after world.