French king Louis XVI’s blood will be up for auction soon, a morbid bit of historical ephemera perhaps not unlike the bloodstained bedding of President Abraham Lincoln saved after he died of a gunshot wound and preserved in a Washington, D.C. museum.
Louis XVI’s blood was collected on a cloth during the 1793 beheading in France, when an angry mob beheaded the monarch and Parisians “jostled to take souvenirs after the execution including snippets of the monarch’s hair.” The angry French peasants also “dipped their garments or cloth in the pool of blood left near the guillotine.”
The cloth that is stained with Louis XVI’s blood is one of the remaining bits from the execution, to be auctioned off alongside a silver buckle said to be from the king’s shoe. But the bloody fabric may require further DNA testing to prove it is indeed an authentically macabre bit of history.
Earlier this year, the cloth bearing Louis XVI’s blood was discovered in a “decorative gourd,” and according to the BBC, “scientists said the DNA is very similar to genetic material from what is believed to be the mummified head of an earlier French king.”
The network explains that the gourd, which had been in the possession of an Italian family for more than 100 years, was a source of DNA data for scientists and adds that “analysis of DNA taken from blood traces found inside the vegetable container had already revealed that it probably matched someone of Louis’ description but scientists could not prove it belonged to the beheaded king as they had no genetic material from any of his relatives.”
The gourd containing Louis XVI’s blood bore related images, and was inscribed to indicate “on January 21, Maximilien Bourdaloue dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his decapitation.”