Beauty of Loulan

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The Beauty of Loulan (楼兰美女) or Loulan Beauty (Other aliases: Loulan middle-aged woman(楼兰長女)) is the preserved dead body of a woman who lived about 4000 years ago, during the Bronze Age. She was found on April 1, 1980 near the Silk Road in the Xinjiang region of China, by Chinese archaeologists Mu Sun-ing (穆舜英) and members of the Archaeological Institute of the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences. She is one of the Tarim mummies, named after where they were found, the Tarim Basin.

Unlike Egyptian mummies, which were preserved on purpose, the Loulan Beauty was preserved almost by accident. She was buried near a salt lake in the desert, where the arid and dry conditions preserved even the finer details of her face, such as her eyelashes[source?].

For many years, the Chinese government forebade the testing of the mummy's DNA, due to fears that it would lead to it being used by nationalist local Uighurs. In 1993, Victor H. Mair and Italian geneticist Paolo Francalacci, were able to test some tissue samples[source?], and although the Chinese government confiscated the samples, Mair claims a Chinese scientist later 'slipped in to their hands' as they were leaving.[1] They found that the Loulan Beauty probably came from Siberia. Later, in 2007 and 2009, scientists from China's Jilin University and Fudan University both tested the Loulan Beauty's DNA.[source?]. They found she was at least part European, but her people might have lived in Siberia before migrating to Xinjiang[source?]. But they all found that the Loulan Beauty was not an Uighur woman[source?], which meant there was less reason for people to argue about her. In 2015, the Chinese government let the Loulan Beauty and other mummies tour foreign museums as an exhibit about the Silk Road.

The woman is estimated to have been between 40 and 48 years old at the time of her death[source?]. The body is 152–155 cm in stature[source?], and her blood type was O[source?].

Scientists learned things about her life by looking at her body and clothes. Her shoes and clothing had been worn out and fixed repeatedly.[2] Her hair was infested with lice.[2] She had inhaled a great amount of sand, dust and charcoal and she may have died of lung problems.[2] She lived around B.C 1900~B.C 1800.

The mummy is wrapped in a wool cloth, cowhide leather, and linen. She is wearing leather shoes. There were several items made out of clay and some grain found nearby.

In 1980, she was restored by a Japanese painter who was named Yamaguchi Terunari(山本耀也). The mummy is currently displayed on the second floor of the Xinjiang Museum, "Mummy Hall"(古尸馆).[3]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Demick, Barbara (21 November 2010). ""A beauty that was government's beast"". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Barbara Demick (November 21, 2010). "A beauty that was government's beast". The Washington Post.
  3. Gilles Sabrie (November 18, 2008). "The Dead Tell a Tale China Doesn't Care to Listen To". The New York Times.

Other websites[change | change source]