Excavation and preliminary studies of the ancient mummies of Xinjiang in China

  • B.-H. Wang
Part of the The Man in the Ice book series (3262, volume 3)


China has a vast territory and the natural geographical conditions differ a lot between its regions. The ancient Chinese believed honestly that the spirit of those who died would not perish. Therefore it became a custom among the relatives of the diseased to attach particular significance to the preservation of the corpses so that they should not decay. In order to achieve that, it was not sufficient to ensure a rich burial, with precious gifts including objects of jade and other valuables. They even developed a set of procedures and techniques to treat the bodily remains in order to prevent decaying for a long period. The upper class favoured different kinds of chemical treatment, for instance involving mercury as a preserving agent. Even the graves were at some occasions dug very deep and were densely sealed. This has contributed to the conservation of some of the bodies during several thousand years.


Tarim Basin Dead Body Female Mummy Shallow Burial Turpan Basin 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • B.-H. Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.China Xinjiang Institute of Relics and ArchaeologyXinjiangRepublic of China

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