Sometimes construction workers end up unearthing the rarest finds while excavating. In one such instance, construction workers in China found a well-preserved body of a man, who probably died sometime during either the Ming or Qing Dynasties. As he was buried in fine clothes with a fan, this was indeed not an everyday discovery but something very unusual.
While excavating one day sometime in 2017, construction workers in Zhizhu Village in Hunan Province, China, discovered an extremely well-preserved body in a coffin, which could be centuries old. The coffin, constructed out of limestone and fine wood, served as a preservative for the body it housed. However, in Chinese culture, opening a coffin is considered to be bad luck.
After analysis, it was determined that the man was an ancestor of the Wang family and probably died sometime during either the Ming Dynasty (ruled 1368 to 1644 AD) or Qing Dynasty (ruled 1644 to 1912 AD). According to the Daily Mail, this was the first well-preserved body from either of the dynasties in that town.
Construction workers in China discover centuries old well-preserved corpse buried with its favourite fan https://t.co/6ImBD1ZnMZ
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) September 1, 2017
In the Ming Dynasty, hats defined a man’s status, and robes were made for every occasion. The higher the status, the more complex and flamboyant the garments, and the more ornaments they displayed in their attire. The Ming Dynasty was formed by a peasant uprising against the Mongol rule of the Yuan Dynasty.
The Qing Dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty.
Officials from China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage stated that due to his fine clothes and the materials used in the construction of his coffin, the man probably belonged to a high-ranking level of society. Officials did not mention whether they had traced any of his descendants.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) September 1, 2017
Meanwhile, the construction work taking place where the remains had been found had to be halted, and it was possible that the Cultural Heritage administration would put an indefinite hold on the construction. The corpse has since been removed from the site for further studies. Who knows what else they may find at this rare, noble grave site!
However, this is not the first time a noble coffin that was completely intact was discovered. In March 2014, French archeologists discovered the well-preserved body of a noblewoman who had passed away over 350 years ago, according to The Guardian. The body was well preserved along with the clothes, a cap, and shoes. It was later identified that the corpse was of Louise de Quengo, a widow from an aristocratic family from Brittany.
Fully dressed and preserved 350-year-old corpse of French noblewoman found http://t.co/73LhOJUwSl
— The Guardian (@guardian) June 3, 2015
“When we opened the coffin (we) saw a body, a lot of volume of fabric, the shoes,” anthropologist Rozenn Colleter, who was part of the team, told CNN. “We didn’t know how well-preserved she was until we scanned her.”
Apparently, her face was covered with a shroud, two bonnets, and a hood. She was dressed in a cape, a serge wool dress, a plain linen shirt, and leather mules with cork soles.
This rare discovery was made in the western city of Rennes. Researchers believe she passed away sometime in her 60s in 1655. The body, which is 1.45 meters long (5 feet), was identified because of inscriptions on a relic containing the heart of her husband, Toussaint de Perrien, Knight of Brefeillac, who was believed to have died in 1649. Her lead coffin was among the five others that were found at the graveyard.
As per the Guardian, she was reburied in Rennes later in 2015.
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