This 1000 year old Chinese bronze sculpture of Buddha holds more than is obvious to the naked eye. It holds the mummified remains of the Buddhist monk Liuquan, a master of the Chinese Meditation School, at least this is who the researchers contend is the mummy inside. It has been known for some time that this sculpture held the remains of a monk, but this is the first time that a CT scan and endoscopy, performed by the Meander Medical Centre in the Netherlands, has been done on the sculpture with the approval of the Drents Museum where it was on display last year. These procedures further revealed that the place where the monk’s organs were removed are filled with small scrolls filled with ancient Chinese writing.
It is believed that this monk is an example of self-mummification, a practice that was banned in the 19th century. This practice consisted of 9 years of very ascetic, austere, disciplined, harsh rituals which resulted in this mummification. Some believe that those who succeed at self-mummification are not dead but rather in an advanced state of meditation, called “tukdam.”
Presently the mummy and sculpture are in Hungary at the Hungarian Natural History Museum until May 2015.