Lady Dai died from several various illnesses including arthritis, bile stones, and most likely heart failure. She was about fifty years old and a mother when she passed away. In here tomb, archeologists discovered markings saying she was wife to a Marquis of Tai, Li Ts 'ang who was a chancellor to the Prince of Ch 'ang-sha. Her real name was Hsin-chui she lived most likely between 193 and 177 B.C. She was buried with over one thousand various goods as well as her husband and a figure whom we believe to be her child. The tombs were all similar but lady Dai 's was the largest and most carefully structured. The tomb had a rectangular shaft hollowed out of the earth leading down to a set of five coffins each carefully serving their purpose to preserve and protect lady Dai.2 The outer coffin stood above the ground and was surrounded by a layer of charcoal then by a layer of white clay. The two completely insulated the coffins to protect them from air and humidity. This caused the coffins so stay preserved as well as their contents. The central coffin contained four nested coffins: the first one consisting of a kind of crate and painted black; the second was decorated with mythological figures and animals; the third was decorated with various colors and augury symbols; the fourth and last coffin was uncovered to find a perfectly preserved woman. The body was laid down on its back, covered with twenty silks and feathers, and tied with ribbons. The body was still intact with the original organs, muscles, and skin including red blood still in the veins at 2100 years old.2 On the inside of the lid, archeologists
Bibliography: Bulling, Gutkind A. "The guide of the Souls Picture in the Western Han Tomb in Ma-Wang Tui Near Ch 'ang-Sha," Oriental Art, n.s. 20, 1974 pp. 158-170. Chow, Fong. "A Treasure-Trove from the Western Han Dynasty." Artibus Asiae, 35, 1973 pp. 5-14. Chunhong, Yu. "Chinese Lady Dai Leaves Egyptian Mummies for Dead." (chinadaily.com.cn) August 25, 2004. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/ english/doc/200408/25/ content_ 368631.htm Serstevens, Michele Pirazzoli. "Life in This World and the Next: The Mawangdui Tombs." The Han Dynasty. Rizzoli New York. 1982.