Vietnam restores two mummies

GIA PHUC VILLAGE (Vietnam): Vietnamese scientists yesterday said they had completed the restoration of two mummies from the 17th century which depict Buddhist monks in a position of meditation. 

The figures at Dau pagoda here are embalmed Zen Buddhists Vu Khac Minh and Vu Khac Truong. The pair died when they were around 50 and 40 years old, respectively, in the 17th century. 

Using a sticky plant extract, sawdust, soil from termite hills and muslin netting, a team that includes two sculptors spent more than six months to restore the bodies. 

They also placed the mummies into glass boxes filled with nitrogen to avoid damage by oxygen. 

“The statues now can last for hundreds of years,” said Nguyen Lan Cuong, associate professor of ethnology and head of the restoration project. 

He was speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to return the mummies to Dau pagoda. About 400 villagers turned up to show their respect. 

“We old people are very happy to watch this,” said 82-year-old Tran Thi Quyet, a Buddhist who has been praying at the Dau pagoda for nearly three decades. 

Cuong said the two bodies had been damaged by Vietnam's tropical climate. Truong's body had been restored previously after flood damaged it in 1893. – Reuters  

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