Mummy's letter unearths South Korea love story

29th Nov 2013

South Korea is a country of romance - with beautiful backdrops and cultural sites designed to melt the hardest of hearts.

But proof that this traditional goes back centuries has been uncovered in a tear-jerking love story unearthed in Andong City.

Visitors on city breaks there can now learn all about the touching love letter found placed on top of a man's mummified body.

It reveals the grief of his pregnant wife 445 years ago.

The mummy was excavated, along with 13 letters addressed to a man called Eung-tae, who is believed to be in the tomb.

One letter penned by the grief-stricken wife pregnant with his child is especially sentimental.

The letter reveals her sense of loss and sadness about her dead husband, reportedly saying: "There is no limit to my sorrow. I just cannot live without you."

It is addressed to "Won's father" Eung-tae, whose mummy measures 5 feet and 9 inches (175.2cm) and was discovered with a batch of 12 others in the burial chamber.

Researchers think the letter dates back to 1568, and although its writer is anonymous, a little more is known about her husband.

The said Eung-tae is believed to have been part of Korea's ancient Goseong Yi family.

The mummified male's skin and beard are well preserved, suggesting he was quite debonair and handsome in his pomp.

A pair of slippers made of the woman's hair and wrapped in a fragile paper parcel were also discovered next to the mummy's head in the tomb.

Slippers woven from hair symbolise love and hope for recovery from sickness in Korean literature.

Chris Scarre, head of archaeology department at the University of Durham, told International Business Times that the body, letters and slippers were very well preserved.

This is because some burials were secured in concrete, which preserves organic materials with incredible efficiency.

The letter writer may be anonymous.

Her words, however, have inspired an opera, film and novels.

Seoul has plenty to offer holidaymakers on group tours, from its futuristic skylines to attractions such as the recently restored Sungnyemun, one of the Fortress Wall of Seoul's eight gates.


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