Xin Zhui, also known as Lady Dai, was the wife of Li Cang, the Marquis of Dai, during the Han dynasty.
Zhui lived an extravagant lifestyle. She enjoyed having
her own musicians for entertainment and had access to a variety of imperial foods, which were reserved for the royal family and members of the ruling class. Much of her clothing was made of silk and other valuable textiles, and she owned a variety of cosmetics.
Xin Zhui suffered from a number of ailments that would eventually lead to her death. She died of a heart attack around 50 years of age in 163 BCE.
Xin Zhui was buried in an immense tomb at Mawangdui in Changsha, with more than 1,000 items ranging from drink and food vessels, to silk clothing and tapestries, to figurines of musicians and mourners.
In 1971, the body of Xin Zhui was discovered by workers, while digging up an air raid shelter. Xin Zhui's body was found within four rectangular pine constructs that sat inside one another which were buried beneath layers of charcoal and white clay. The corpse was wrapped in twenty layers of clothing bound with silk ribbons.
The discovery of the body of Lady Dai and the contents of found in her tomb continue to advance the fields of archaeology and science in the 21st century, particularly in the area of preservation of ancient human remains. Scientists in 2003 developed a "secret compound" that was injected into Xin Zhui's still existing blood vessels to assure her preservation.Research at the Hunan Provincial Museum continues in an effort to perfect corpse preservation, using Xin Zhui as the main candidate for such procedures.
Xin Zhui's body was remarkably preserved. Her skin was soft and moist, with muscles that still allowed for her arms and legs to flex at the joints. All her organs and blood vessels were also intact, with small amounts of Type A blood being found in her veins. This preservation allowed doctors at Hunan Provincial Medical Institute to perform an autopsy on 14 December 1972.
More than 1,000 precious artifacts were found with Xin Zhui's body. Known as the best preserved human mummy ever discovered in China