Xinjiang Celebrates 2,500 Years of Continuous Funkiness

This story caught my eye on Christmas Day:

Chinese scientists have carefully stripped a 2,800-year-old mummy, only to find the corpse underneath the delicate attire of a possible shaman priest had decayed and broken at the neck and arms.

But research work on the mummy would continue, said Dr. Li Xiao, head of the heritage bureau in Turpan, of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region… Archaeologists found a sack of marijuana leaves buried alongside the mummy. He also wore huge earrings of copper and gold, and a turquoise necklace, and held a copper laced stick in his right hand and a bronze axe in the left. His hands were crossed in front of his chest. “From his outfit and the marijuana leaves, we assume he was a shaman,” said Li. “He must have been between 40 and 50 years old when he died.”

George Clinton?

But now they’ve gone a step forward in an article that will no doubt be translated soon titled “2500 Year old Marijuana Unearthed in Turpan Cemetary”, in which researchers declare that it is quite possibly the worlds oldest grass. According to Dr. Jiang Hong’en, when the pot was unearthed in 2003, “it was still green, as if it had just been plucked, and completely intact”. Dr. Jiang said the Kunming Botanical Insititute confirmed the bud was 2,500 years old. Anonymous sources quote that the doctors discussed the results and concluded “Dude. *Cough* *Cough* It’s really sticky!”. They then rambled for several hours about how Uyghurs are actually “really f**kin chill” and how they could have East Turkestan is they promised a regular hook-up.

Hopefully they kicked back with funky Xinjiang beats courtesy of Fausto of Shirley and Spinoza Internet Radio (h/t Opposite End of China).

The Discussion: 13 Comments

Whoah, is that a real album? I must have it!

January 24, 2007 @ 3:39 am | Comment

Dang, I just checked out the link. He has the whole CD plus cover art available for download. How cool is that?! Thanks Dave!

January 24, 2007 @ 3:48 am | Comment

Thanks Dave! I’m always on the prowl for wonderful stuff of the musical variety. My collection of Tuvan Throat Singing (or Chöömej) is second to none, mostly courtesy of eMule. Yat-Kha’s cover of ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ is worth the search.

Here’s my favorite oldies site – some great posts for downloading if you like the classics:

Thanks again for posting the link to this fine collection of Uyghur Pop.

January 24, 2007 @ 2:50 pm | Comment

Dave — quick correction: it’s Jiang Hong’en, not Jiang Hong.

Bob — I remember seeing Yat-Kha improvise a soundtrack to the early Soviet silent film “Storm Over Asia” a few years back. One of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. The albums where they do their own stuff are great too — one of them (I think it’s “Yenisei Punk”) has a great khoomei version of a Soviet-era propaganda song in Tuvan.
If you’re in Beijing, there are a few good Mongolian khoomei (/houmai/喉脉) bands around that you might be interested in.

Re: the article —

Here’s a quick translation of the money paragraph:


Dr. Li Xiao, director of the Turpan Bureau of Antiquities, said: “Based on the distinctive clothing of the preserved corpse, we hypothesize that the tomb may belong to a shaman…the marijuana may have been ground to a powder in the wooden bowl, and then ingested by the shaman in order to induce a fit. The hallucinogenic and medicinal properties of marijuana may have been the motivation for the owner of the tomb to have them buried with him.”

Li continued, “Did you ever wonder if maybe we’re all inside, like, a giant atom?”
Li’s colleagues are skeptical of his giant-atom theory, which has on several occasions caused him to shout that he was “living in a fucking police state, yo.”

January 24, 2007 @ 3:41 pm | Comment

“And the giant atom is like, just a tiny particle on this giant’s fingernail?”

January 24, 2007 @ 3:50 pm | Comment

OTHERLISA: “And the giant atom is like, just a tiny particle on this giant’s fingernail?



DR. LI XIAO OF THE TURPAN BUREAU OF ANTIQUITIES: “I see God! I see Him! There He is! There he is!”

(LI runs out of the room, whirling his hands around his head and making whooshing noises.)

January 24, 2007 @ 3:53 pm | Comment

Doh! Thanks Brendan.

Yup, OtherLisa, it’s a real album, and free. And Fausto is now living in Xinjiang, so I imagine there will be more where that came from.

January 24, 2007 @ 10:32 pm | Comment


January 25, 2007 @ 12:50 pm | Comment

hey there Mr. P. Duck –
just wanted to say ‘thanks for the post!’
hopefully, i can get a ‘volume 2’ Uyghur pop comp ready and up sooner than later sometime in Feb….once the net situation in the PRC smooths out… like pushing molasses through a coffee straw, man – as you know.
also, for your readers that might be interested in some field recorded Xinjiang folk music and sounds – i STILL have this pair of 2 hour live mix shows available HERE
thanks again !

January 25, 2007 @ 2:00 pm | Comment

I believe that the sentence above that you translated as, “Dr. Jiang said the Kunming Botanical Insititute confirmed the bud was 2,500 years old,” is actually, “Dr. Jiang said that researchers as Kunming Botanical Institute were able to extra THC from the 2,500 year old bud.” But, I’m no Chinese expert… that’s just what my girlfriend says.

January 28, 2007 @ 12:50 am | Comment

Another CCP expedition to prove that Han have always lived in Xinjiang comes to another disappointing conclusion. Persian and Turkish caucasians settled E. Terk mun iz tan

January 29, 2007 @ 11:02 am | Comment

Michael — yup, ´óÂé·Ó is THC. I’m not sure why they put “ÂÌÉ«Ö²Îï” (‘green plant’) in quotes in that sentence, unless maybe it’s some kind of Kunming botanical researcher slang for “ill-ass ganj.”

January 29, 2007 @ 2:46 pm | Comment

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