A Buddha statue that has made its way to the Netherlands from a temple has revealed a shocking secret — it is actually a 1,000-year-old mummified monk.
The discovery was made when a private buyer brought it to an expert to restore the piece and they found the mummy encased in a cavity inside the statue.
A team of researchers discovered it’s organ were missing after performing a CT scan, Vincent van Vilsteren, an archaeology curator from Drents Museum said “We thought it would be lung tissue, but instead we found little scraps of paper covered with Chinese characters,”
The mummified buddha was found sitting on a cloth which was covered in Chinese inscriptions. This identified the mummy as a Buddhist monk called Liuquan who possibly practiced “self-mummification” in preparation for the afterlife.
It is thought that over a thousand years ago in countries such as Japan, China and Thailand they have practiced the process of self-mummification. This strict routine included a special diet and consuming poisonous substances so their bodies would not be disturbed by maggots.
“We suspect that for the first 200 years, the mummy was exposed and worshiped in a Buddhist temple in China… only in the 14th century did they do all the work to transform it into a nice statue,” Van Vilsteren added.
We are still waiting on DNA analysis that can reveal the origins of the mummy, it is thought that the results trace it back to its exact location in China.
The statue was recently exhibited in the National Museum of Natural History in Budapest and was due to be viewed as part of an exhibition in Luxembourg, however it was removed due to the overwhelming amount of attention it was getting.