The body of Pham Thi Dang, second wife of Dang Dinh Tuong – a high-ranking official under the Le Dynasty (1428-1788) was found 42 years ago in Van Cat Hamlet, in the northern province of Nam Ha (now Nam Dinh).
“We had excavated many mummies, but we couldn’t help being shocked when seeing her, because she looked as if she were just a sick woman who was sleeping,” says Do Dinh Truat.
Decades after studying mummies discovered across the country – from the bodies of royalty and senior officials to the common man, archeologists Do Van Ninh and Truat are still amazed by the ancient Vietnamese technique of preserving bodies.
Despite not having their internal organs and brains, as in Egyptian mummies, their bodies were usually found in good condition – soft with joints still supple after being buried for hundreds of years, they said.
Some still retained the facial features they had when they were alive, Truat said.
In the case of Dang, the veteran archeologist even asked a local woman who was at the same age as Dang, 60 years old, to stand next to the body “to see who was more beautiful.”