Vu Khac Minh
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Vu Khac Minh
Age unknown
Sex male
Status former chief of the Monastery
Height unknown
Culture Vietnamese
Site Dau Pagoda
Current Location
Location Dau Pagoda temple, Vietnam
Catalog # none
Vu Khac Minh used to be the chief of the Monastery, before his passing. His mummified body is kept in a glass case in a temple named ‘Dau Pagoda’, which is located 50 km south of Hanoi, Vietnam. He was a former high-ranking officer under the Le Dynasty and after getting a promotion to the highest position of his career in the King’s Senate, he wanted to retire and to retreat to this monastery.


Monks that were considered to be part of the highest rank in their temple were often mummified and Vu Khac Minh was one of this monk. During the process of mummification, Buddhists tend to keep the organs inside the body. This is also the case with Vu Khac Minh. His inner organs weren’t removed and his body was coated with layers of silver, sawdust, paint, resin and lacquer, which act as a method to preserve it. It is still a mystery how his body has lasted through the elements of the tropical weather in Vietnam. Surprisingly, the high humidity did not affect Vu Khac Minh’s body in any way.


An archaeologist by the name, Nguyen Lan Cuong observed that X-ray results of the body and it showed that his skull wasn’t disturbed. He proposed that his brain wasn’t removed or replaced with stuffing. Moreover, no traces of adhesives or strings were used to mend and support the bones. He also discovered that protective paints were used to guard it against insect attacks.


After realizing that his death is near, Vu Khac Minh began secluding himself in the small chapel. Afterwards, he refrained from eating and drinking and occupied himself with prayers. He gave one last instruction to the monks that were assembled around him. He told them to wait for one month before checking in on him. He instructed them to bury him if a foul smell arises from his body but to leave him be if there are no signs of decay.


Bennett-Jones, O. (2001). Mummified monk's red lacquer day. Retrieved from

S Kumar, S. (2010). Vu Khac Minh - The smiling mummy of Vietnam.. Retrieved from

Vietnam's relic: the remarkably preserved mummy of an abbot. (2000). Retrieved from

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