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Digital technologies restore looks of 2,200-year-old woman

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-05-17 08:57
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CHANGSHA -- Lady Xin Zhui, a 2,200-year-old mummified aristocrat from Central China, has been recreated in digital form, giving some idea of how she looked at 35.

On Friday, the Hunan Museum in Changsha, Central China's Hunan province, released the image of a "3D digital figure" of Xin Zhui, one of the most famous wet mummies in the world.

The image consists of a seated figure of an amicable-looking woman with coiled hair and delicate makeup, which represents the likely look of the noblewoman at the age of 35. Also made public is an earlier digital recreation of the face at 50, Xin Zhui's approximate age of death.

The digital image was created based on X-ray scans of the skull conducted following the corpse's excavation about five decades ago, coupled with on-site observation and historical records, said Duan Xiaoming, director of the museum.

The museum launched the project to digitalize Xin Zhui last October. Leading experts on facial reconstruction were invited to produce a sculpture of her face, which helped a tech firm create a digital model of the 50-year-old lady. AI technology was then employed to create a rejuvenated version at the age of 35.

Lady Xin Zhui was the wife of the chancellor of the Changsha Kingdom during the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC-25 AD). Her body intact with elastic muscles and eyelashes was retrieved in 1972 from a waterlogged coffin at the Mawangdui Tombs, where her husband and son are also interred.

Her restoration marks the latest in a series of efforts to digitally restore the appearance of ancient Chinese people. In March, Chinese archaeologists published the reconstructed face of a low-ranking official back in the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-207 BC), based on skeletal remains and burial objects.

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