Read At Home in Her Tomb: Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui by Christine Liu-Perkins Online


This middle-grade chapter book unearths the mysteries of the Mawangdui (mah-wahng-dway) tombs, one of China’s top archaeological finds of the last century. Miniature servants, mysterious silk paintings, scrolls of long-lost secrets, and the best preserved mummy in the world (the body of Lady Dai) are just some of the artifacts that shed light upon life in China during theThis middle-grade chapter book unearths the mysteries of the Mawangdui (mah-wahng-dway) tombs, one of China’s top archaeological finds of the last century. Miniature servants, mysterious silk paintings, scrolls of long-lost secrets, and the best preserved mummy in the world (the body of Lady Dai) are just some of the artifacts that shed light upon life in China during the Han dynasty....

Title : At Home in Her Tomb: Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781580893701
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 80 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

At Home in Her Tomb: Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui Reviews

  • Ann Keller
    2019-06-27 02:47

    I was enthralled by what I read within these pages. Lady Dai was entombed in an elaborate set of four coffins and then buried more than 50 feet underground. The ancient Chinese people did such a good job of preserving her that when she was reached by archaeologists, her body tissues were still soft! An autopsy was able to be performed on a woman who had died over 2,000 years ago. The fragments of her daily life surrounded her in her tomb, as well. There were small doll-like musicians who could entertain her on the other side, sets of dishes, portions of implements she would have used in her daily toilette and a host of other artifacts too precious to mention. Her son's tomb revealed an ancient medical text, documenting the herbal remedies and medical treatments available to the people of this time. This was information we'd thought lost as some of the great libraries fell to ruin. What a treasure this was!

  • Julie
    2019-06-22 02:05

    Beautifully photographed and illustrated children's nonfiction about the discovery and excavation of three burial tombs in Mawangdui in the 1970s. Interesting for the cultural and historical context, all meticulously researched, as well as the archaeology and forensic pathology involved in recovering Lady Dai's well-preserved corpse; lots of fascinating sidebars, a timeline of the Han dynasty, and a comprehensive bibliography included.

  • Jasmine
    2019-06-18 22:05

    This book is excellent nonfiction for young readers. It provides a sequential timeline of events, uses good descriptive prose and presents questions and thinking points to the reader to provide a rich reading experience. Photos, history, and illustrations keep reader's attention. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any young readers.

  • Macaylamoore
    2019-06-12 02:04

    At Home in Her Tomb is an informational non-fiction book. In it details, the finding of Lady Dai’s tomb and the historical timeline of the early Chinese military. Her tomb was found January 16, 1972 in Mawangdui, China. She was found among two other tombs;one for her husband, a supreme leader, and the other for her son. Her son died at a very young age, for he was an experienced military tactician. Lady Dai is the only mummy, of three, to survive two millennia without decaying. She is also one of the first and only mummies to be found with flesh and tissue still attached. This was a result of the exact amount of coal and clay surrounding her tomb. Lady Dai was also resting in a type of liquid that prevented flesh decay that is still unknown today. I really enjoyed this book! It was informational and interesting to hear that Lady Dai was considered one of the best mummy discoveries in history. I liked that they included pictures along with the information, it made it much more easier to picture in my head. I also liked that the author tied in a “story” about Lady Dai’s last days and how the family prepared for her soul to move on. One thing I did not like, was the military and economical timeline in the back. I thought it was unnecessary for it to be in there; I wanted to hear more about the mummy discovery. I would suggest this book to history and mummy lovers. I would also suggest this book to students with a high lexile, it may not look very long or challenging, but it has a higher level of thought.

  • Betsy
    2019-06-19 21:11

    When I say the word “mummy” what springs into your mind? Movies starring Brendan Fraser? Egypt and scarabs and rolls of crumbling papyrus? Absolutely. But what if I told you that recently the best-preserved mummy in the world was found? And what if I told you that not only was she a woman, not only was she surrounded by treasure, but she was also Chinese. Now I’ve known about mummies in South America and frozen on mountains. I know about bog bodies and bodies that were dried out naturally in deserts. But I had no idea that there even was such a thing as a Chinese mummy. In At Home in Her Tomb author Christine Liu-Perkins breaks everything down for you, bringing us a story that’s part forensics, part history, part family story, and all interesting. Same old story. One minute you’re happily munching muskmelons. The next you’re dead and your corpse has been interred with miniature servants, silk paintings, scrolls, and countless other treasures. And the story might stop right there, except that in two thousand or so years nothing changes. Your body does not rot. Your treasures stay complete and unchanging. So when archaeologists excavated the tomb of Lady Dai, they can be forgiven for being completely astonished by what they found. In At Home in Her Tomb author Christine Liu-Perkins takes you not just into the mystery surrounding Lady Dai’s astonishingly well-preserved body, but also into ancient China itself. A more complete and exciting (and I use that word sparingly) glimpse into Qin and early Han Dynasties for children would be difficult to find.Why do we love mummies as much as we do? I think it might be a mix of different reasons. Maybe we’re so attached to our own bodies that we find a weird bit of hope in the fact that they might last beyond the usual prescribed amount of time allotted to an average dead carcass. My husband, I should note, hasn’t been completely thrilled with the fact that I leave this book lying about as much as I do. As he rightly points out, what we have here is a bloated corpse book. He’s not wrong and it’s not a particularly attractive dead body either. So why the fascination? Why should I care that her joints were still movable when they found her, or that her fingerprints and toe prints were clear? I can’t rightly say, but it’s a curiosity that kids share with adults. We want to know what happens beyond death. The next best thing, it seems, is to find out what happens to our bodies instead.There was a time when the television show C.S.I. inspired whole waves of kids to dream of jobs in forensics. Naturally the real world applications are a lot less fast-paced and exciting than those on television. At least that’s what I thought before hearing about forensic anthropology. Author Liu-Perkins brings it to vivid, fascinating life. It’s not all that’s alluring about this title though since the layout of the book is rather clever as well. Rather than just stick with a single narrative of the discovery of the body and tomb, the author punctuates the text with little interstitial moments that talk about what everyday life for Lady Dai might have been like. Liu-Perkins allows herself a bit of creative freedom with these sections. Obviously we have no idea if Lady Dai “sigh[ed] in weariness” while tending her silkworms. To eschew accusations of mixing fact and fiction without so much as a by your leave, Liu-Perkins begins the book with an Introduction that sets the stage for the interstitial Lady Dai moments. She writes how the artifacts from the tomb caused her to imagine Lady Dai’s life. From there it seems as though the historical fiction sections are directly tied into this statement, clearly delineated in the text from the longer factual sections. Authors these days struggle with making the past live and breathe for their child readers without having to rely on gross speculation. This technique proves to be one answer to the conundrum.Admit it. A lot of booksellers and librarians are going to be able to hand sell this book to their customers and patrons by playing up the gross factor. Just show that shot on page 24 of the corpse of Lady Dai and a certain stripe of young reader is going to be instantaneously enthralled. Maybe they’ll take it home for closer examination. Maybe their eyes will then skim over to the text where phrases like “her eyeballs had begun falling out” lead to the factors that explain why the decay in the body stopped. They may then flip to the beginning and start reading front to finish, or they might skim from page to page. Honestly, there’s no wrong way to read a book of this sort. When you’re dealing with a title about the “best preserved body in the world” you’re already in pretty awesome territory. Credit then to Christine Liu-Perkins who gives the subject matter her full attention and presents it in such a way where many children will willingly learn about Chinese history in the process. A beautiful book. A heckuva mummy.For ages 9-12.

  • Sunday Cummins
    2019-06-22 23:12

    This book joins a growing group of titles about how archaeology and forensics inform our historical knowledge. Great for STEM classrooms and also for teachers who are trying to expand students’ interest in reading informational texts. In the early 70’s a tomb from the Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) was discovered in Changsha, near the capital of Hunan Province in China. What’s fascinating here is the preservation was so well done that the cadaver inside still had flesh soft and moist to the touch. Scientists discovered 138 1/2 musk melon seeds in her digestive tract. The tomb – a time capsule of sorts – revealed objects, ideas, culture that we didn’t know were part of daily life in China that long ago – there were scrolls and books and miniature dolls of servants and musical instruments and food and more.Liu-Perkins is aware of her audience. She begins each chapter with a fictitious scene – what might have been occurring in Lady Dia’s life at a particular point – based on artifacts found in the tomb. The body of each chapter then addresses a different aspect of her life, the excavation and so forth. Clearly organized. The writing is cohesive and the content is not too dense. There are illustrations that clearly support the complex content – for example, the description of the burial chamber is supported by an illustration of the different compartments as well as detailed illustrations of the coffins that were nested within each other. Liu-Perkins weaves in historical notes about the time period and what was happening in the area. There is also a thread regarding the science behind how Lady Dai was entombed and why the tombs adjacent to hers were not as well preserved. In addition, she addresses the scientific knowledge and engineering that were part of that time period so long ago – as revealed in what we learned from artifacts found in the tomb.I review this book and make suggestions for "book talking" and for close reading at

  • Elizabeth
    2019-05-27 21:49

    The little known story of the 2000 year old Chinese mummy, Lady Dai, begins with the discovery of her tomb. Liu-Perkins does an excellent job setting up the modern context, before taking the reader back to the time of Lady Dai's buriel.The use of text breakouts, photographs, and illustrations keeps the reader involved in the story. The author does a fantastic job pointing out some of the reasons this mummy was important both in comparison with other, more familiar mummies and in her own right. The tomb served as a time capsule for researchers who discovered intact items that they had previously read about. Liu-Perkins allows readers to understand both why the discovery and study of this grave is important, but also shares some of the insights gained, allowing readers to appreciate both the history and the science of the find. It is easy to see why the National Council of Social Studies named it a Notable Book in 2015.Christine Liu-Perkins spent years researching the topic and it shows. She includes everything from close up photographic samples of details on the silks discovered in the tomb to examples of seeds found. Her writing style is informational, but not dry, and the use of information breakouts allows readers to discover more background about the current topic, without distracting from the topic at hand.This is a great book for lessons on "the cradles of civilization" or comparing mummification methods with the more familiar Egyptian style mummies. While it will be of special interest to educators, it is interesting enough to hold the interest of middle and high school students.At Home in Her Tomb, with a seventh grade and up reading level, is an excellent addition to middle and high school libraries. It essential for public libraries as well, expanding both the historical collection and the diversity of offerings.

  • M.
    2019-05-29 01:05

    Fascinating book about a preserved body from 158 BCE, about 2250 years ago. Lady Dai was the wife of a Chinese official; and her tomb, found in 1971, was not robbed. Her treasures were intact. Her body was somehow preserved. Even the silk wrappings around her nesting coffins was intact. The next year the tombs of her husband and adult son were found. Although both tombs had been damaged, scientists found ancient books, maps, and personal items such as food, clothing, tiny clay servants, and clay money. The tombs were (and are) amazing gifts to forensic anthropology and to students of ancient Chinese culture.The book itself is written for middle schoolers but would be of interest to high schoolers and adults as well. There is text, there are sidebars, and there are many photographs of what was found in the tomb. The text and sidebars explain a lot of what it was to live 2,000 years ago given our new understanding of the culture then--what people ate, how they occupied their time, how the laws and justice system worked.I'm not ready to give the book 5 stars but I'd give it 4 1/2 if that were available.

  • Round Lake Area Public Library
    2019-05-27 23:58

    This middle-grade chapter book unearths the mysteries of the Mawangdui (mah-wahng-dway) tombs, one of China's top archaeological finds of the last century. Miniature servants, mysterious silk paintings, scrolls of long-lost secrets, and the best preserved mummy in the world (the body of Lady Dai) are just some of the artifacts that shed light upon life in China during the Han dynasty.The cover of this book is what captured my attention. It’s interesting and gross at the same time (so the kids should love it). The cover has a picture of Lady Dai and her amazingly well preserved skin after being buried for 2,200 years. Inside the book you find out about the archaeological dig that unearthed her and 2 others. They also found a treasure trove of more than 3,000 artifacts from beginning of the Han dynasty that had people all over the world flocking to the museum. So how was her skin still moist and her joints were still movable (normally rigor mortis starts withing 12 hours after death)? Check out this book to find out!

  • Jennifer
    2019-06-04 19:49

    An interesting non-fiction title for teens interested in archaeology or ancient Chinese history. The book focuses on Lady Dai, a very well-preserved mummy discovered in 1970s China. The book is oversized (almost picture-book like) with an excellent cover. The cover has a colorful photo of the mummy and a painting of her funeral. Inside, aach chapter starts with a brief description about what Lady Dai’s life may have been like when she was alive. All chapters feature colorful drawings and photos, which are helpful and add a new dimension to the narrative. The length is manageable and it’s easy to flip through and read what you want. The back features a timeline of the Dynasties, a glossary, an author’s note, sources, a bibliography and index. My one concern is that the text can be very detailed so it could lose those that aren’t very interested in the history.

  • Barbara
    2019-06-09 21:03

    Many middle grade readers are fascinated by mummies, making this book highly appealing to them. Based on her own research and what was found in her tomb, the author imagines what life might have been like for Lady Dai when she lived in China two thousand years ago. The book contains stunning photographs of this mummy and many of the artifacts found in her tomb and that of her son, including layers of silk, books, food, and painted scrolls. Amazingly, scientists discovered seeds in her intestine. The discovery of this wealthy woman's final resting place and the treasures that were unearthed are all described in an engaging fashion. Like me, many readers will be astonished at the glimpses into the past these findings offer scientists. It's amazing that her body and organs were so well preserved. The author's fascination with this topic shines through in every word of the text.

  • The Reading Countess
    2019-06-05 03:01

    Fascinating text about three tombs discovered in China in 1971. One tomb, "Lady Dai's" was well-preserved; however, her husband's and one of her son's was not. The discoveries within the underground site have given modern scientists things to ruminate on. Each chapter begins with a fictionalized account of Lady Dai's life that helps illustrate this hard-to-picture time period in younger reader's minds. The pictures and text features make this one a wonderful mentor for Language Arts teachers. My students just completed a study of ancient China with their Social Studies teacher (one of my partners), so I know many readers will gobble this one up whole as I did in one sitting.FANTASTIC resource for a Social Studies or teacher of ancient cultures.Highly recommended

  • Kathy
    2019-06-12 22:52

    Excellent non-fiction mummy book: everything from how she was found, her condition, why she died, what her life was like and why the discovery of her tomb was so significant. The large photo of the mummy herself is suitably gross enough to fascinate the most discerning 5th grader, with her white skin and her tongue sticking out (her corpse had started to decompose before mummification). Vignettes and drawings based on the objects that accompanied the mummy start each chapter, and photographs and drawings accompany the descriptive text. Maps, overview of the relevant Chinese history, timeline, Author's Note, glossary and bibliography are in the back.

  • Lynn
    2019-05-27 21:14

    Fascinating account of the discovery and excavation of three 2000-year-old tombs in western China. What was most remarkable was the uniquely well-preserved contents of the tombs including the body of a Chinese noblewoman whose skin was still soft to the touch. It was a treasure trove in SO many ways for archeologists and historians and the knowledge gained was priceless. Excellent writing that is clear and accessible for young readers and the author's infectious sense of wonder radiates from the story. The book design is outstanding with gorgeous pictures, helpful captions and clear diagrams and illustrations. Excellent back matter as well.

  • Angie
    2019-06-17 23:15

    I enjoy books like this. Christine Liu-Perkins did a fantastic job researching Lady Dai and her time period and sharing it in an accessible way for children. There are all kinds of mummies out there: egyptian, bog, etc. All of these mummies are desiccated remains. What I found truly fascinating was that Lady Dai wasn't desiccated. Her skin was still soft, her joints still worked, her organs had not decayed. She looked like a recently dead person instead of someone who had died 2200 years ago. Her tomb contained many treasures like still recognizable food and silks and some of the first books. Her tomb and those of her husband and son are truly treasures.

  • Annalee Schnebele
    2019-06-02 23:09

    I may have come into this book with higher expectations as I love mummies and have a things for the Terracotta Warriors - and this book was about an amazingly preserved mummy found in China. Really, this should have been right up my alley.The book was okay. The text was easy to follow and it was about a topic I knew nothing about before, but I felt like there could have been more details and depth to the text (even recognizing the fact that it is a middle-grade text).Recommended for elementary school collections to bring some great diversity to the preserved corpse section.

  • Annie Oosterwyk
    2019-05-29 23:06

    A Chinese tomb is excavated to reveal an astonishingly well-preserved mummy from 158 BCE. She was a lady of great wealth and power and the treasures in her tomb provide historians with long missing information about the past: books that have been lost for thousands of years, examples of musical instruments, food, maps, beautiful silks and cosmetics. The process of excavating the tomb is explained and what is learned from its contents is added to what was already known. Excellent addition to a curriculum covering ancient civilizations.

  • Yapha
    2019-05-28 03:59

    In 1971, workers discovered the nearly perfectly preserved tomb of Lady Dai from the second century BCE. Shortly thereafter, they found the neighboring tombs of her husband and son. Unfortunately, those two had been slightly damaged in the building of Lady Dai's, so their contents were not as well preserved. However, these three tombs contained a treasure trove of artifacts shedding new light on life in Ancient China. Full color illustrations throughout. Recommended for grades 4 and up.

  • Vanessa
    2019-06-12 04:15

    This book delves into the art of mummification in China by discussing the discovery of one particularly well preserved mummy from the Han dynasty. Lady Dai was so remarkably well preserved that doctors were able to perform a full autopsy on her and discover numerous facts about the lives of the nobility during the Han dynasty that were before unknown. Some of the pictures are a bit graphic, but the book is very informative and written in an easy-to-follow style. Recommended for ages 9 and up.

  • Jenn
    2019-06-24 04:04

    An account of the items found in the Mawangdui tomb, discovered in 1972. This incredibly well-preserved tomb helped inform much of what we know today about the Han dynasty. The book is short. I'm not sure that it provides enough information to be considered strong supplementary material for Chinese history, but students interested in learning about mummies can find some very interesting facts. The concise history of the Han dynasty at the end was helpful.

  • Amy
    2019-06-03 03:57

    I need this book for my class library! It is a fascinating chapter book about the discovery of the incredibly well preserved cadaver and tomb of Lady Dai (Western Han Dynasty). The author does a wonderful job breaking down difficult historical information into kid-friendly language and bookends each chapter with essential questions that prime young (and old) brains for thinking more deeply about the material she presents in each chapter.

  • Edward Sullivan
    2019-06-17 04:02

    Fascinating account of the discovery and excavation of three 2000-year-old tombs in western China. The most remarkable find in the tombs was the remarkably well-preserved body of a Chinese noblewoman whose skin was still soft to the touch. The author offers great information about her times and the processes scientists used to examine the body and other contents of her tomb.

  • Janet
    2019-06-15 03:12

    I was intrigued enough to skim it quickly, but not interested enough to read it more closely.A fine choice, but not a book I will put on a "cool" or "fun" nonfiction list. That said, I won't be surprised to see it on lists of best books of the year, and it's likely to win some awards.

  • Lin Lin
    2019-06-21 02:13

    How much can a tomb of an important person in history tell us about history? This book offers readers a fascinating story about a lady, a family, and a dynasty (Han) in Chinese history. The relics excavated from the tomb speak for themselves about the spectacular achievements and innovations that took place in Han Dynasty.

  • Margaux
    2019-06-16 22:52

    By far the most disgusting cover I've seen in a while, this is for those kids who want to take How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous to the next level.

  • Allison
    2019-06-28 02:48

    So interesting! The archaeological importance of the Mawangdui find is placed within the context of the history of the time period, alongside imagined scenes from Lady Dai's life. Amazing. I wish there had been more pictures of the mummies though :)

  • Naomi Blackburn
    2019-05-27 21:57

    This book was just cool, cool, cool! It gave a thorough history on a perfectly preserved mummy found in China including tests done on her, her life and the embalming process. I found myself reading this book with wide opened eyes and my mouth open and I am in my 40's!

  • Becky
    2019-05-27 21:14

    Fascinating text about the tomb and mummy of Xin Zhui, Lady Dai, the wife of the Marquis of Dai, the Chancellor of Changsha during the early Han dynasty. Due to beliefs and burial customs, many important artifacts were buried with her. I learned a lot about ancient China from this book.

  • Samantha
    2019-06-17 04:02

    I was fascinated by the story of Lady Dai. I almost wish I could feel the squishy skin (but also a little creeped out by it.) I don't know much about the Han Dynasty so the historical information was interesting to me. A solid choice for kids fascinated by mummies and ancient China.

  • Jill Moss
    2019-06-09 04:15

    This book was fascinating. I love learning about how people lived in the past and this book was an amazing look into ancient China. China in 150 BCE or so had it going on! I really hope I can talk my elementary kids into giving this one a try.