Mummified statues among 14 new national treasures
Friday, 2016-12-23 11:15:11
NDO - Another 14 artefacts and groups of artefacts have been recognised as national treasures, including the mummified statues of 17th century Zen masters Vu Khac Minh and Vu Khac Truong.
The two statues are currently being held at a Buddhist temple in Thuong Tin district in southern Hanoi.
Research suggests the bodies of the two monks had a thick layer of a special mixture applied to keep the bodies in their original form, which were later applied with several more layers of Vietnamese paints to prevent them from deteriorating.
Nguyen Lan Cuong, an archaeologist, said that an X-ray of Vu Khac Minh showed his skull had not been chiselled, suggesting that his brain was not pulled out to replace it with stuffing, as usually seen in Egyptian mummification.
In addition, researchers found no materials such as adhesives, strings or frames to fix and support the bones, which remained in their original positions.
Cuong later found a similar mummification process can also be seen in Huineng, the sixth patriarch of Chinese Zen Buddhism.
According to official historical records, other Vietnamese Zen masters including Tu Dao Hanh, Nguyen Minh Khong and Giac Hai also had their bodies preserved in the same way after their death but their mummies no longer exist due to vanishing in war.
Another notable national treasure in this batch of recognition is Huyen Thien Tran Vu, a 3-metre high and 4-tonne bronze statue at Quan Thanh Temple near West Lake in Hanoi.
The statue was cast in 1677, featuring a Taoist god with a square face, a long beard and his hair untied, sitting on a stone platform with his right hand holding a sword surrounded by a snake and supported by a tortoise.
The bronze statue at Quan Thanh Temple
The other artefacts include: