The Mummy’s Mystery At The Vietnam History Museum

This mummy was discovered over 17 years ago by Vietnamese archaeologists while excavating a tomb with two coffins in Cui village in Ward 8, District 5 in HCM City.

The tomb was built firmly, using coral powder as quicklime, sand, treacle and active coal. It contained two coffins. One had an intact body of woman of around 60 years old, 1.52m height. The body was rolled in many layers of cloth and covered by a strange solution in red brown color. The other coffin contained a male body, but only some bones and items were left.

According to scientists, the female body is kept untouched because her coffin was covered by a layer of paint (like tar), which prevented water to absorb into the body and the solution in the coffin to run out.

Archaeologists found out a piece of silk that notes the biography of the mummy. The mummy is Mrs. Tran Thi Hieu, a patrician under the Nguyen Dynasty. She died at the age of around 60.

The patrician was buried with many objects like rings, a Buddhist necklace and bracelets, many pieces of silk, a pair of shoes made by leather and cloth, etc.

The mummy was brought to the HCM City Medical University’s Hospital for research and it was then moved to the Vietnam History Museum for preservation and display.

The mummy is now displayed in a separate room at the museum, with 19 items found in the two coffins, including: seven rings, one silver-made lime box, one betel grinding box, one horn comb in the coffin of the man and two gold bracelets, one Buddhist necklace and one pair of shoes in the woman’s coffin.

Two bottles containing the strange solutions in coffins are also displayed.

The mummy is periodically checked and maintained by medical experts.

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