URUMQI, CHINA – Almost invariably when visitors approach the middle-age woman enshrined in a climatized exhibit case in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region Museum, they pause and do a double take. What gets the most attention is her nose: high-bridged, slightly hooked, the sort of nose that reminds one of Meryl Streep.
Then a little gasp. “Weiguoren!” (A foreigner!), one young woman exclaimed to her friends.
Nearly 4,000 years after her death, Beauty of Loulan still has the ability to amaze.
She is one of hundreds of Bronze Age mummies discovered in the shifting desert sands of northwestern China’s Xinjiang region, where thousands more still lie buried. Unlike the embalmed mummies of ancient Egypt, they were preserved naturally by the elements, which in some ways makes them more interesting. They represent an extended span of history from 1800 B.C. to as recently as the Ching dynasty (1644 to 1912) and a range of human experience. Some were kings and warriors, others housewives and farmers.Read More →