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article imageAncient body of Lady Dai to visit Santa Barbara

By Wang Fangqing     Sep 17, 2009 in World
The body of the rich ancient woman, unearthed 30 years ago in a Mawangdui tomb close to Changsha, Hunan province in China, is set to be displayed in the Santa Barbara Museum for the exhibition "Noble Tombs at Mawangdui" from Sept. 19 to Dec. 13.
Lady Dai, also called by her real name Xinzhui, was a wife of Li Cang, prime minister of Changsha in the Han Dynasty 2,000 years ago.
After she died of a heart attack, her family wrapped her with 22 dresses of silk and hemp, bound her with nine silk ribbons and covered her face with a mask. Thick textiles filled her coffin, keeping the air out, which explains why her body is well preserved, reported The Canadian Press.
Other items buried with her showed she had a rich and elegant life of wine, food, books, makeup, lacquered dinnerware and drinking vessels, which is key evidence to show her social stance. During that time, only people in the top class could use lacquered vessels rather than bronze.
Visitors will also see a T-shaped piece of silk with a painting of Lady Dai hung over her coffin. It's a copy of the original version which is the earliest portrait in Chinese painting and is too fragile to travel.
The meaning of the painting? People believe it shows her in the afterlife where her soul has integrated into the cosmos, said Susan Tai, Curator of Asian Art for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
"The Han Dynasty is the foundation of Chinese culture," she added.
More about Dai, Lady, Santa barbara, Museum, Mawangdui
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