Lady of Cao
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Lady of Cao
Age mid twenties
Sex female
Status Moche Priestess-Queen
Height unknown
Culture pre-Incan
Date(s) 1600 years ago
Site Huaca El Brujo (Sacred place of the Wizard)
Current Location
Location Peru
Catalog #


The Lady of Cao is also known as the tattooed mummy. She died in her mid twenties, roughly 1600 years ago. The Lady of Cao was a priestess-Queen of the Moche society. In the Moche society individuals would sacrifice themselves and a silver goblet was used to collect their blood. The blood was consumed by the priestess-queen with the idea that "life feeds on life." There is little known about The Moche society but what is known can be found written on the walls of Moche Temples. They embraced death.


In the Moche society the dead were usually left to naturally decay, no embalming took place for preservation. However, The lady of Cao was shown to be a rare instance of mummy preservation. Her body was coated in cinnabar, a mineral associated with the life source of blood. She was wrapped in cotton and encased in a type of clay, known as adobe. The dry, desert climate of Moche dried her body.



The Lady of Cao died in her mid to late twenties. Recent studies show The Lady of Cao died due to pregnancy complications during childbirth. It is found she suffered from eclampysia, causing to have seizures during child birth. It is unclear if the child was successfully born or if it was a still birth. Stretched ligaments and pelvic muscles suggest she died approximately 48 hours after the onset of labour.

Additional InfoEdit

Tattoos of snakes and spiders were found present on The Lady of Cao's body. It is suggested that these were the symbols of fertility and power. Found along side her was jewelry, weapons, gems, weaving materials, and needles. She was found beside another young women who sacrificed herself via strangulation with a hemp rope. These items suggest she was a ruler or a warrior princess, as no other tombs showed these items.

External LinksEdit

Finn, E. (2015). Peru's Lady of Cao mummy died during childbirth. Retrieved from Moose, M.(2014). Tomb of the Tattooed Sorceress Queen, The Lady of Cao, Retrieved from Willford,J.N.(2006). Moche mummy likely a ruler or warrior princess. Retrieved from Williams,A.R.(2006).Mystery of the Tattooed Mummy.National Geographic. Retrieved from

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