Hunan Highlights: The 2000-year-old Woman in the Tomb

This was once the final resting place for the woman who ruled during the Han dynasty
This was once the final resting place for the woman who ruled during the Han dynasty

Hunan Province’s long history explained by the artifacts in the Tomb
Pottery and pits found in the stomach of the dead woman tell many stories about ancient life in China, like she died in the summer when watermelon was in season.
Pottery and pits found in the stomach of the dead woman tell many stories about ancient life in China, like she died in the summer when watermelon was in season.

The Hunan Provincial Museum is the proud owner of a 2000-year-old mummy, a female ruler of the Han Dynasty who was buried in an extremely elaborate deep tomb that a farmer found in Hunan back in 1972.

On the walls are many details about the many things that were found when experts began digging deeper and deeper, pulling out little royal combs, shoes, thousands of nearly intact porcelain pottery and the mummy herself, still viewable (no photos please) at the dramatic end of the tour.

The Chinese visitors actually did not take any photos, with hundreds of cellphone crazy museum-goers hovering over that crypt where the poor mummy lay exposed. Respect.  The museum, like so many things in China, is the largest art museum in the province, where 70 million reside.

This is what the outside of the tomb looked like when it was built 2000 years ago.
This is what the outside of the tomb looked like when it was built 2000 years ago.

In the museum, there is a sort of planetarium that shows an animated movie of the planets and the zodiac signs which was very impressive, and of course, it came with a dramatic soundtrack–perfect for a quick movie or better, a selfie of some kind.

I have enjoyed the selfie culture of China, we got mobbed when we visited the Yuelu Academy by high school kids who just had to get their photos taken with us.

Bob, a big guy in our group, was especially popular, the kids yelling “hello!  Hello?” and snapping wildly.

It is always fun to be such centers of attention, though I still don’t want to be famous because it would certainly get old.

Find out more at the museum website.

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