Table of contents:
- 1. Two letters in the buttocks of the statue of Jesus
- 2. The skeleton of a self-mummified monk inside a Buddha statue
- 3. Ancient money inside an ancient Chinese statue
- 4. Statue of Jesus with human teeth
- 5. Cocaine
- 6. Keys and love letters inside the statue of Juliet
- 7. Flags, newspaper clippings and Confederate currency
- 8. Letters, newspaper clippings, photographs and autographs
- 9. Scrolls inside a Buddhist statue
- 10. Golden statue inside another statue
Ancient statues themselves are considered some of the most interesting artifacts from the distant past. And it happens that other relics are found in them: scrolls, letters, money or other items of historical significance. Such finds are often completely unexpected and strange, since no one could even expect to find something similar inside and could not have imagined that the creators of these works of art could think of this.
1. Two letters in the buttocks of the statue of Jesus
Several years ago, two letters were discovered hidden in the buttocks of a 240-year-old statue of Jesus in Saint Aguede, Spain. They were written in 1777 by Joaquin Minguez, a priest in the cathedral in the Spanish city of El Burgo de Osma. Minges wrote that the statue was made by a certain Manuel Bal, who also made similar sculptures for other cathedrals. Minges added that wheat, rye, oats and barley were successfully harvested that season, and a lot of wine was stocked up in the warehouse. According to him, there was an epidemic of typhoid fever in the village, but people did not lose heart and often played ball and cards to pass the time and have fun. Interestingly, there were copies of documents in Jesus' buttocks, and the originals were sent to the Archbishop of Burgos in the archives.
2. The skeleton of a self-mummified monk inside a Buddha statue
In the 1990s, a statue of Buddha was discovered that contained the real skeleton of a monk. Apparently, the monk was mummified sometime in the 10th century, and his remains were later turned into a statue. The process of self-mummification is not unusual for Buddhists. Often, Buddhist monks deliberately tried to turn themselves into mummies, and slowly died for this. The process was long and difficult, and it began three years before his death. At first, the monks followed a strict plant-based diet and ate only nuts, roots, berries, and bark. After 1000-3000 days of such a diet, they began the practice of "Newjo". At the same time, they stopped eating completely and drank only water mixed with salt, constantly meditated and, in fact, slowly died. They were buried alive when the monks were on the verge of death.
The remains were later exhumed to see if they decomposed or turned into a mummy. Such mummies are quite rare, and the mummy in the statue is something unique at all. In fact, this find is the only known example of mummification in a statue. After the death of this monk, his mummified remains were exhibited in the temple for another two centuries. However, the body slowly decomposed, prompting the monks to enclose the remains in a statue. Unfortunately, the skeleton cannot be analyzed due to concerns that it could disintegrate completely if removed from the statue. However, X-rays showed that the skeleton was in perfect condition.
3. Ancient money inside an ancient Chinese statue
In 2016, Australian art historians discovered an ancient banknote inside the hollowed-out head of a 645-year-old wooden Chinese Buddha statue. The banknote was about the size of a standard letter, making it larger and weirder than modern banknotes. Notes on the note indicated that it was issued in 1371, during the reign of Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. The note was valued at one guan, the equivalent at the time of 1,000 copper coins or 28 grams (1 ounce) of silver.Interestingly, there is an inscription on the banknote urging citizens to report counterfeiters facing decapitation.
However, this rare specimen is one of the earliest banknotes in history. This type of cash was almost exclusive to China in 1371. Europe was using coins at that time and slowly began to switch to banknotes only 300 years later. Interestingly, the discovery was made by accident. The statue was being prepared for auction when the banknote was found (curiously, neither of the two previous owners managed to find it). The banknote was later put up for auction.
4. Statue of Jesus with human teeth
In 2014, a wooden statue of Jesus was restored in Mexico, in which real human teeth were found. The statue, called "The Humility of Christ," depicted a bloodied Jesus awaiting crucifixion. Scientists have no idea where the real human teeth came from in the 300-year-old statue. In truth, old statues in this region of Mexico often have real nails, teeth, and hair. For example, a statue of the infant Jesus with two small rabbit teeth, a statue of a devil with dog teeth, and several other statues with real human hair were found.
However, a statue with real human teeth is something previously unheard of, especially since the teeth were in perfect condition. The statue's mouth was always closed, making the teeth almost invisible, and they were only discovered when the statue was x-rayed. Researchers suspect the teeth were taken from a living or dead believer who wanted them to be donated to the church. Mexican Christians often donated body parts to churches in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Drug smugglers constantly had to resort to various innovations in order to successfully stay in business. They have invented all sorts of weird methods such as hiding drugs inside statues and even making sculptures out of drugs. In 2010, Colombian police discovered a replica of the World Cup made from cocaine just before the statuette was shipped from Bogotá airport to Spain. The "goblet" was made from 11 kg of cocaine mixed with acetone or gasoline so that it could be molded into a mold. And in the United States, during a transport from Mexico to Dallas, they managed to intercept a statue of Jesus, consisting of 3 kilograms of cocaine and several other unidentified materials. No matter how sophisticated the drug dealers were, they did not succeed in deceiving the sniffer dogs.
6. Keys and love letters inside the statue of Juliet
Several years ago, in Verona, Italy, hundreds of keys and love letters were discovered in a bronze statue of Juliet (Romeo's beloved in Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet). They were found by accident during the restoration of an exhibit for Valentine's Day in 2015. The statue was made in 1969 and was installed in Verona, because this city is considered the birthplace of the fictional Juliet. Nevertheless, the sculpture was worn out in such a short time, as tourists often rubbed its chest and hands for good luck. This caused the statue to wear out and eventually crack. Soon, tourists began to squeeze their love letters through the cracks formed into the hollow "Juliet". Many keys were also found, because lovers sometimes wrote their names on small locks, and then "hid" the keys to them inside the statue.
7. Flags, newspaper clippings and Confederate currency
For years, a 363-pound statue of a Confederate soldier named Johnny Reb stood in Orlando, Florida. She has repeatedly become the subject of scandals and condemnations for racism and a symbol of white supremacy. These controversies led to the statue being dismantled in 2017.A small metal box was then discovered, hidden at the base of the statue, containing a box of newspaper clippings, Confederate flags, and Confederate dollar bills. The statue itself was moved to the cemetery and installed near the graves of 37 Confederate soldiers.
8. Letters, newspaper clippings, photographs and autographs
In 2014, a real time capsule was discovered inside a statue of a golden lion, installed on the roof of the Old Capitol in Boston. It was found in the head of a lion when the sculpture was dismantled for reconstruction. Interestingly, the time capsule was not always forgotten. Its existence was reported in the Boston Globe in 1901. However, years later, it was forgotten and remembered only when a descendant of the sculptor who sculpted the statue discovered a letter written by the artist. The letter mentions the existence of the capsule and lists its contents (newspaper clippings, photographs and autographs, as well as several letters written by politicians and Boston residents). The City of Boston intends to duplicate the contents of the statue and place them in the statue, along with some newer items, so that they can be rediscovered in the 22nd century.
9. Scrolls inside a Buddhist statue
In May 2018, a 700-year-old 76-centimeter high bodhisattva statue was discovered at the Hokkeji Temple in the Japanese city of Nara. It was a statue of Monju Bosatsu, the bodhisattva of wisdom. Monju is often depicted as a man sitting on a lion holding a Buddhist book in one hand and a sword in the other. Sitting on a lion symbolizes the fact that man has tamed his mind, the book symbolizes knowledge, and the sword shows that man has "broken through ignorance." Inside the statue, 180 items were found, including scrolls, relics and other unconfirmed artifacts (30 in the head, and the remaining 150 in the torso). The contents of the scrolls remain unknown, as they were found while scanning the statue with a tomograph.
10. Golden statue inside another statue
Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon is a 2.7 meter high Buddha statue that can be seen in Bangkok, Thailand. Previously, the sculpture was covered with plaster and was considered not particularly valuable. It is believed to have been created in India between the 13th and 14th centuries. The statue was brought to Bangkok in 1801 and installed in the Wat Chotanaram temple, and in 1935 it was transported to Wat Traimit. However, the sculpture was so huge that for many years it was installed not inside the temple, but in its courtyard under the roof.
In 1955, the statue fell while it was about to be moved to another temple in Bangkok. The plaster covering it cracked, revealing pure 18K gold. It turned out that inside there is a golden statue, made of nine parts, and a key so that you can take it apart for transportation. Historians believe the statue was covered with plaster to hide its true value during the Burmese invasion in the 17th century. The plan was more than a success.
And recently it was revealed the mystery of the ancient chariot that was buried with horses and rider.