Scientists discover 1,000-year-old monk inside Buddha statue

The Buddha statue, which was on display at the Drents Museum in the Dutch city of Assen, was analysed at the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort. -- PHOTO: VIDEO SCREENGRAB
The Buddha statue, which was on display at the Drents Museum in the Dutch city of Assen, was analysed at the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort. -- PHOTO: VIDEO SCREENGRAB

REUTERS - A CT-scan of an ancient Buddha statue has led to the unique discovery of a mummified Chinese monk, dating back to the 11th century and preserved in the same position as its exterior statue.

The Buddha statue, which was on display at the Drents Museum in the Dutch city of Assen, was analysed at the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort.

A team of scientists and doctors tested the statue using CT-scan imaging and an endoscope. Amsterdam resident Erik Bruijn headed the project, according to the NL Times online.

The mummified body has been identified as Master Liuquan, a Buddhist monk who likely practiced Sokushinbutsu, or self-mummification. Radiologist Ben Heggelman took bone samples to confirm the mummy's identification with DNA testing.

The statue, which is currently visiting Hungary, will be on display in Budapest until May 2015.