It’s not every day you stick an ancient Chinese artefact into a computerised tomography (CT) scanner and discover a dead person sitting inside. Yet, this is exactly what happened when a team at the Meander Medical Centre in the Netherlands recently peeked at the internals of a Buddha statue from the 11th/12th century, only to discover the space was occupied.
As Rob Stevens writes, the statue was shown at the Drents Museum in Assen in early 2014. At some point during its stay, the hospital had a chance to not only scan the statue, but perform an endoscopy to check out the mummy’s organs. Surprisingly, they didn’t find what they were expecting:
A gastrointestinal and liver doctor took samples of yet unidentified material and examined the thoracic and abdominal cavities. The hospital: “He made a spectacular discovery: at the place where once had been organs, he found, among all kinds of rotten material, paper scraps that were printed with ancient Chinese characters.”
It’s not explained what was written on the scraps, or what prompted the team to scan the statue in the first place. Stevens does note that DNA tests will be conducted on collected bone samples.
Top photo: M. Elsevier Stokmans
Body photos: Jan van Esch