The Treasures of Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin, located in China’s enormous Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is a site of tremendous historical significance. Its deserts have witnessed the development and fall of civilizations, concealing mysteries that have yet to be uncovered by modern explorers. The Laulan Mummy is a discovery that provides a unique window into ancient cultures.
A Remarkable Discovery
In the 1980s, researchers explored the desolate Tarim Basin and made a remarkable discovery: a remarkably well-preserved mummy. The Laulan Mummy, so named from the location, attracted academics and the general public.
Loulan’s Ancient Journey
Loulan’s narrative began 3800 years ago on the renowned Silk Road commercial route, not in 1980. She was preserved, along with more than 200 other mummies, by the dry environment and saline soil. Her noble features, which earned her the title “Loulan Beauty,” are still stunning even in death.
A Life Cut Short
Loulan lived about 40–45 years before dying of lung illness caused by environmental pollutants, including smoke from open fires and sandstorms. She rested comfortably in her woven clothing, surrounded by others dressed in woven plaid. A significant number of individuals possessed tattoos.
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Whispers of Loulan’s People
Loulan’s people, who are of Caucasian ancestry, left traces of their daily existence in the objects they buried with them. They may have sold textiles or leather because they were buried with various clothes. One man was buried with ten different hats.
Inkings of the Ancients: The Tattooed Mummies
One woman among these mummies stands out because she has tattoos of half-moons and ovals on her face. In many societies, these patterns point to the worship of goddesses.
Ancient tattooing was vastly different than it is today. The tattoos on the skin of the Laulan Mummy were most likely made with bone or metal instruments that were repeatedly pressed into the skin to introduce pigments, leaving behind traces of the past.
Unravelling Tattoo Mysteries
These tattoos are more than body art; they represent important cultural symbols. They probably had spiritual importance, social rank, and tribal affiliations, as they depicted animals, tales, and elaborate patterns.
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