Wish I knew the backstory here.
Shanghai Corpse Backlog, December 1946. Photograph by John Florea for LIFE. Source: LIFE Photo Archive, hosted by Google.

Wish I knew the backstory here.

Shanghai Corpse Backlog, December 1946. Photograph by John Florea for LIFE. Source: LIFE Photo Archive, hosted by Google.

Mail Online: Pony-Tailed 130-Year-Old Mummy Surprises Grave Robbers with an Image That Will Haunt Them for Life

These mummy pictures make me kind of sad for him. At least his hair is awesome.

Dead Bachelors in Remote China Still Find Wives

2006 article from the New York Times. Fascinating.

To ensure a son’s contentment in the afterlife, some grieving parents will search for a dead woman to be his bride and, once a corpse is obtained, bury the pair together as a married couple. […]

Villagers and Mr. Yang, the funeral director, said a family searching for a female corpse typically must pay more than 10,000 yuan, or about $1,200, almost four years of income for an average farmer. Families of the bride regard the money as the dowry they would have received had death not intervened.

Like many good things, via Order of the Good Death.

National Geographic: Lifelike "Wet Mummy" Found During Roadbuilding

This is remarkable: a Chinese “wet” mummy dating from the Ming dynasty. The story’s a year old, so it’s not really news. 

See the whole slideshow and learn interesting things, including this:

During the Ming dynasty, preservation after death was thought to “reflect your purity” in life, [historian Timothy] Brook explained.

Had this woman’s family known her body would be preserved for more than 600 years, they would have been extremely proud, he added.

There are a few additional pictures in this article in the Daily Mail.

Photo by Gu Xiangzhong, Xinhua/Corbis.

This is Yingpan Man. Or, more specifically: These are the clothes he was buried in. He’s another of the Tarim Basin mummies, though he’s much younger, historically speaking, than Cherchen Man. He lived sometime in the fourth or fifth centuries A.D.
Heather Pringle’s post from a few years back on Archaeology's blog offers some background on the mummy and his clothes, which were featured in the recent traveling exhibit Secrets of the Silk Road. She consults Sinologist (and Tarim Basin mummy expert) Victor Mair. 

The magnificent trappings of Yingpan Man are the first things that visitors lay eyes on in the exhibit. The Chinese government did not send the remains of the European-looking 6-footer who wore his brown hair in a topknot. But as Mair pointed out, Yingpan Man’s “sartorial shell” alone speaks volumes. Dating to the 4th or early 5th century AD, the attire of this ancient traveler clearly embodies all the wealth and splendor that flowed through the Tarim Basin after the Silk Road opened and linked China to the Mediterranean world. […]
Who was Yingpan Man? Mair has some ideas. He died in his early to mid-thirties, and he had clearly amassed a fortune by that point, most likely through trade. The town of Yingpan, after all, was an crucial trade node on the Silk Road. During this period, Mair pointed out, the richest traders along the route were Sogdians, an Iranian-speaking people whose homeland lay near Samarkand in what is now Uzbekistan. So Mair believes that Yingpan man was likely a Sogdian merchant who died relatively young in a place far from home.

The fact that I’m just seeing clothes here—and no mummy—kind of creeps me out a little. The same way this did.
Image source: Yingpan Man by Penn Museum on Flickr:

"Yingpan Man," front view of clothed body of male mummy, ca 3rd-4th century AD. Excavated from Yingpan, Yuli (Lopnur) County, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, © Xinjiang Institute of Archaeology.

This is Yingpan Man. Or, more specifically: These are the clothes he was buried in. He’s another of the Tarim Basin mummies, though he’s much younger, historically speaking, than Cherchen Man. He lived sometime in the fourth or fifth centuries A.D.

Heather Pringle’s post from a few years back on Archaeology's blog offers some background on the mummy and his clothes, which were featured in the recent traveling exhibit Secrets of the Silk Road. She consults Sinologist (and Tarim Basin mummy expert) Victor Mair. 

The magnificent trappings of Yingpan Man are the first things that visitors lay eyes on in the exhibit. The Chinese government did not send the remains of the European-looking 6-footer who wore his brown hair in a topknot. But as Mair pointed out, Yingpan Man’s “sartorial shell” alone speaks volumes. Dating to the 4th or early 5th century AD, the attire of this ancient traveler clearly embodies all the wealth and splendor that flowed through the Tarim Basin after the Silk Road opened and linked China to the Mediterranean world. […]

Who was Yingpan Man? Mair has some ideas. He died in his early to mid-thirties, and he had clearly amassed a fortune by that point, most likely through trade. The town of Yingpan, after all, was an crucial trade node on the Silk Road. During this period, Mair pointed out, the richest traders along the route were Sogdians, an Iranian-speaking people whose homeland lay near Samarkand in what is now Uzbekistan. So Mair believes that Yingpan man was likely a Sogdian merchant who died relatively young in a place far from home.

The fact that I’m just seeing clothes here—and no mummy—kind of creeps me out a little. The same way this did.

Image source: Yingpan Man by Penn Museum on Flickr:

"Yingpan Man," front view of clothed body of male mummy, ca 3rd-4th century AD. Excavated from Yingpan, Yuli (Lopnur) County, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, © Xinjiang Institute of Archaeology.

This is Cherchen Man. He stood about six feet tall, had light hair and fair skin, and he lived about 3,000 years ago in what is today the Xinjiang region of western China. He sports facial tattoos. And the world’s oldest surviving pair of pants.
He’s among a group of mummies found in the Tarim Basin dating from between about 1900 B.C. and 200 A.D. I’ve wanted to write about them for a while.
I recently watched China’s Secret Mummies, a National Geographic video available on the Penn Museum’s website. It’s about 45 minutes long; unfortunately, more than half of those 45 minutes are eaten up by bullshit reenactment footage and suspense-making editing. But it’s still a good overview of the mummies, and it reveals what researchers from National Geographic’s Genographic Project were able to learn from their DNA.
What they found was surprising. After the mummies were discovered, their Caucasian facial features and woolen (sometimes plaid) textiles led many to speculate that they came from Europe, or—more fancifully—were Celts.
Sidenote: As a former Celticist (air quotes), I find this conclusion funny. I refuse to think of “Celt” as anything more than a linguistic designation, or something denoting a discrete genetic or cultural group. (Interesting and surprising read: The Origins of the British: A Genetic Detective Story by Stephen Oppenheimer.)
Anyway, like I said, the DNA results were surprising. Cherchen Man and his mummy-buddies showed east Asian genetic markers, leading the researchers to revise their understanding of the Tarim people. Likely, they were a mixed group—different cultures from east and west coexisting (and sleeping together) at a crossroads—rather than a western transplant culture hanging on in an unlikely eastern outpost, as had been previously thought. 
Hope to post about some of the other Tarim mummies in the near future.
Image Source: Uyghur American Association.

This is Cherchen Man. He stood about six feet tall, had light hair and fair skin, and he lived about 3,000 years ago in what is today the Xinjiang region of western China. He sports facial tattoos. And the world’s oldest surviving pair of pants.

He’s among a group of mummies found in the Tarim Basin dating from between about 1900 B.C. and 200 A.D. I’ve wanted to write about them for a while.

I recently watched China’s Secret Mummies, a National Geographic video available on the Penn Museum’s website. It’s about 45 minutes long; unfortunately, more than half of those 45 minutes are eaten up by bullshit reenactment footage and suspense-making editing. But it’s still a good overview of the mummies, and it reveals what researchers from National Geographic’s Genographic Project were able to learn from their DNA.

What they found was surprising. After the mummies were discovered, their Caucasian facial features and woolen (sometimes plaid) textiles led many to speculate that they came from Europe, or—more fancifully—were Celts.

Sidenote: As a former Celticist (air quotes), I find this conclusion funny. I refuse to think of “Celt” as anything more than a linguistic designation, or something denoting a discrete genetic or cultural group. (Interesting and surprising read: The Origins of the British: A Genetic Detective Story by Stephen Oppenheimer.)

Anyway, like I said, the DNA results were surprising. Cherchen Man and his mummy-buddies showed east Asian genetic markers, leading the researchers to revise their understanding of the Tarim people. Likely, they were a mixed group—different cultures from east and west coexisting (and sleeping together) at a crossroads—rather than a western transplant culture hanging on in an unlikely eastern outpost, as had been previously thought. 

Hope to post about some of the other Tarim mummies in the near future.

Image Source: Uyghur American Association.

Oh my god.
Image number 4? Of the lengthwise body slices? Please look at it.
xmorbidcuriosityx:

Interesting behind-the-scenes photo set of a Chinese workshop, where they ‘plastinate’ bodies for exhibition. 

Oh my god.

Image number 4? Of the lengthwise body slices? Please look at it.

xmorbidcuriosityx:

Interesting behind-the-scenes photo set of a Chinese workshop, where they ‘plastinate’ bodies for exhibition. 

This is a 2000-year-old mummy in the Jingzhou Museum in China’s Hubei province.
I wasn’t able to find a lot of information about him in my online pokings, but here’s something from China Tour 360's article about the museum's attractions:

One is an exhibit of the corpse of a man and the burial objects of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD). These were excavated from the site of the Chu Kingdom in 1975. Due to the depth of burial and the anoxic condition, the corpse was well preserved. The characters found in the tomb recorded that the man was a high official under the reign of the Wen Emperor of the Western Han Dynasty and that the exact year of his funeral was 167 BC.

The image above comes from Wikipedia. The Invisible Half has also has some pictures and a brief commentary.

This is a 2000-year-old mummy in the Jingzhou Museum in China’s Hubei province.

I wasn’t able to find a lot of information about him in my online pokings, but here’s something from China Tour 360's article about the museum's attractions:

One is an exhibit of the corpse of a man and the burial objects of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD). These were excavated from the site of the Chu Kingdom in 1975. Due to the depth of burial and the anoxic condition, the corpse was well preserved. The characters found in the tomb recorded that the man was a high official under the reign of the Wen Emperor of the Western Han Dynasty and that the exact year of his funeral was 167 BC.

The image above comes from WikipediaThe Invisible Half has also has some pictures and a brief commentary.

Skeletons, mummies, bog bodies, exhumations. The dead, and what happens to them.

About | Archive

Categories:
Meet This Dead Person
Feats of Preservation
Skulls and Skeletons
Bog Bodies
Mummies
Ossuaries and Bone Architecture
Incorruptibles and Saintly Relics
Exhumations
When Famous People Die
When Dead People Turn to Soap
Skeletons in Clothes
Dead People Sitting, Standing, or
     Made to Look Alive

Postmortem Photography
Death in Art
Death Masks
Crime
Suicide
Disease
War
Hearses
Executions
Accidents and Disasters
Funerals
Morgues, Funeral Homes, and the
     Business of Death

Mourning Customs and Imagery
Handling, Disposing of, and Storing
     the Dead

Posthumous Travels and
     (mis)Adventures

Cemeteries and Graveyard Scenes
Personal Details and Opinions
Personal Favorites
Just Plain Weird or Uncategorizable

My Elsewheres:
Slight Perceptual Problem
Old-Timey Cats
Old & Welsh

Sites I Like
Bess Lovejoy
Get Your Shit Together
Morbid Anatomy
Strange Remains
The Chirurgeon's Apprentice
The Order of the Good Death