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.
“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.