The surprising statue was dubbed by the scientists “the oldest patient ever”, and experts from the Meander Medical Center in Amersfoort, The Netherlands, used a CT scanner to photograph the body of the monk inside the Buddha statue.
Also, the researchers used an endoscope for examining the monk’s abdominal and thoracic cavities.
After extensive research, the scientists believe the meditating mummy found inside the Buddha statue could belong to Liuquan, a Buddhist monk who lived and died in China around the year 1,100, A.D.
The analysis revealed that the monk’s internal organs had been removed after his death and his body was filled with paper scraps printed with ancient Chinese characters.
The Buddha statue was part of an exhibition called “Mummies: Life Beyond Death”, where it was displayed at the Drents Museum in the Netherlands. This was the first time the statue had ever been of China.
A brochure from the exhibitions says that the monk found inside a Buddha statue could mean a case of self-mummification.
The brochure explains that the Chinese monks would only drink water and eat exclusively nuts and seeds for 1,000 days. Then they would subsist on roots and pine bark, and drink a toxic tea made from the sap of the lacquer tree for another 1,000 days.
While doing this, the monks were sealed inside a stone tomb, according to the researchers.
The monks would use a small tube for breathing and announced the people they were still alive by ringing a bell from time to time.
Once the monks stopped ringing the bell, the people would know they had died and were left inside the tomb for another 1,000 days.
The Buddhist monks who have been mummified are believed to have achieved spiritual enlightenment.
The researchers are not sure yet whether Liuquan the monk mummified himself because the removal of his organs and the presence of the paper inside.
The Buddha statue is currently exhibited at the Natural History Museum in Hungary.
Image Source: ancient-origins