The Mummies of Ürümchi

The Mummies of Ürümchi

Book - 1999
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Baker & Taylor
A look at the incredibly well-preserved ancient mummies found in Western China describes their clothing and appearance, and the attempts to reconstruct their culture

Norton Pub
A fascinating exploration of the mysterious, perfectly preserved Caucasian mummies of western China. In the museums of år?mchi, the windswept regional capital of the Uyghur Autonomous Region in Western China-what we know as Chinese Turkestan-a collection of ancient mummies lay at the center of an enormous mystery. Some of år?mchi's mummies date back as far as 4,000 years-contemporary to the famous Egyptian mummies, but even more beautifully preserved, especially their clothing. Surprisingly, these prehistoric people are not Oriental but Caucasian-tall and large-nosed and blond with round eyes (probably blue). Where did they come from? What were these blonds doing in the foothills of the Himalayas? Few gifts are put into the graves of the dead, making it difficult for archaeologists to pinpoint any cultural connections from clues offered by their pottery and tools. But their clothing-woolens that rarely survive more than a few centuries-has been preserved as brightly hued as the day each was made. Elizabeth Wayland Barber describes these remarkable mummies, their clothing, and the world to which they so mysteriously belonged, piecing together their history and peculiar Western connections both from what she saw in år?mchi and from the testimony of those who explored along the Silk Road centuries earlier. The result is an entertaining and informative unveiling of an ancient and exotic world.

Book News
Barber, one the world's leading authorities on ancient textiles, delves into one of the deepest mysteries of archaeology. In what is now known as Chinese Turkestan were found mummies as old as 4,000 years, contemporary with the famous Egyptian mummies but better preserved. Especially notable are their woolen clothes, still bright colored, which loom large in the absence of other information about the six-foot blond Caucasians who they were and why they were in the heart of Asia. Barber pieces together their sheepherding life, their history, their western connections, and their path to the remote and mysterious place. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

A look at the incredibly well-preserved ancient mummies found in Western China describes their clothing and appearance, attempts to reconstruct their culture, and speculates about how Caucasians could have found their way to the feet of the Himalayan mountains.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, 1999.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780393045215
Branch Call Number: 393.3 BAR
Characteristics: 240 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), maps ; 25 cm.


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