When you hear the word ‘mummy’ you probably think of a shriveled up, barely recognizable body.
But one mummified corpse that has been preserved for well over 2,000 years is remarkably well-preseved.
The Lady of Dai, also known as Xin Zhui, died at some point between 178 and 145 BC, but when her tomb was accidentally discovered in 1971, pathologists couldn’t believe how intact she was.
Judging by the items buried with the Lady of Dai, it was clear she was a woman of great wealth and importance when she was alive.
But she also appeared to have the best mummifiers on stand-by, because not only was her skin still moist and her eyelashes still attached, but she still had blood in her veins.
The mummy’s organs were still intact, even down to the lung nerves, which are paper thin.
When examining the body, experts discovered over 100 undigested melon seeds inside her oesophagus, stomach, and intestines. It was determined that she had eaten melon just an hour before her death.
So, how was the Lady of Dai so well-preserved?
Well, part of it is simply down to how wealthy she was, since her corpse had been found swaddled in 18 layers of silk and linen clothing.
Her coffin was also filled with a strange clear fluid that turned brown once it was exposed to oxygen.
While some theorize that these were simply her bodily fluids, others believe it was a traditional herbal solution that might have helped with to preserve the body.
Despite all of her riches, pathologists were able to determine that the Lady of Dai was quite unhealthy before she died.
It was determined that, shortly after digging into that melon, the Chinese noblewoman died of a heart attack – the blood clots that were still sitting in her veins were a telltale sign.
She is said to have been around 50 years of age when she died – which was likely a pretty decent lifespan back then.
But it was no surprise that the Lady of Dai had suffered with heart problems, as scientists found that she was very overweight, and had diabetes.
She also had high blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as gallstones and liver disease.
It is understood that the Lady of Dai would have had quite an indulgent lifestyle, which would explain her poor health.
“As judged from her richly furnished tomb and the fact that she was a noblewoman with many servants waiting on her, she probably did not need to exert herself,” one study on the mummy reported.
Today, you can find the mummy of the Lady Dai in the Hunan Provincial Museum, and she’s still looking fantastic for her age.