Making Mummies

Now that’s a crappy day job:

DALIAN, China — Tucked away in the back of this coastal city’s export-oriented manufacturing zone is a place that can only be described as a modern mummification factory.

Inside a series of unmarked buildings, hundreds of Chinese workers, some seated in assembly line formations, are cleaning, cutting, dissecting, preserving and re-engineering human corpses, preparing them for the international museum exhibition market.

“Pull the cover off; pull it off,” one Chinese manager says as a team of workers begin to lift a blanket from the head of a cadaver stored in a stainless steel container filled with formalin, a chemical preservative. “Let’s see the face; show the face.”

The mastermind behind this operation is Gunther von Hagens, a 61-year-old German scientist whose show, “Body Worlds,” has attracted 20 million people worldwide over the past decade and has taken in over $200 million by displaying preserved, skinless human corpses with their well-defined muscles and sinewy tissues.

1 thought on “Making Mummies”

  1. You know I saw these in a recent magazine (Discover maybe?) and while at first compelling it quickly becomes disgusting. I don’t know – there is just something so very creepy about displaying people for pleasure – it’s like taxidermy but worse. Way worse somehow since they move the bodies around and put them in all sorts of positions. I was pretty confused by the whole deal to. In this country, where we are so determined to complete repatriation of Native American remains, why would people pay to go see a foreign person who was dug up for entertainment purposes?
    I’m telling you – it’s creepy, very very creepy.

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