The Long-Lasting Remains
The female corpse of Xin Zhui, the Marquise of Dai, was found in the innermost coffin of Tomb No.1. When unearthed, it measured 1.54m and weighed 34.3kg. Despite the fact that it had been buried for over 2100 years, the body was found relatively intact and retaining a certain degree of moisture. The soft tissue under the skin was still tender and elastic, and the joints were movable to a certain extent. The eyelashes and the hair in the nostrils still remained, the eardrum membrane of the left ear was intact, and the lines on the tips of fingers and toes were clear.

The Long-Lasting Remains

An analysis of the anatomy shows that the visceral organs were well preserved. The collagenous fibres were the best preserved, even the lungs vagus (nerve), which is as thin as hair, was distinctly identified. The corpse possessed Type A blood, and blood clots were found in the blood veins. According to pathological inspection, Xin Zhui had suffered from various diseases including a coronary heart attack, general atherosclerosis, and cholelithiasis. Ova of schistosome, trichuriasis and enterobiasis were found in her rectum and liver. In her esophagus, stomach and intestines, 138 1/2 muskmelon seeds were found, revealing that she might have died shortly after eating a melon. Accordingly, her sudden death was most probably caused by a coronary heart attack, which was in turn triggered by an acute episode of cholelithiasis. She died at the age of around fifty.
That this female corpse was preserved thus for over 2000 years is a marvel in the history of antiseptic. The excellent state of preservation could be attributed to the airtight sealing and the deep burial, which created a low-temperature, anoxic and germ-free environment. In addition, the 80 litres of fluid inside the innermost coffin might have served to inhibit the action of proteolytic enzymes.