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"At last I have the ashes of my sacred ancestor!"
―Lao Che[src]

Nurhachi's ashes were the remains of Nurhachi, the first emperor of the Manchu dynasty in China. The ashes were prized by gangster Lao Che who claimed Nurhachi as an ancestor and in 1935 he hired Indiana Jones to find and retrieve them in exchange for the Peacock's Eye.


After Emperor Nurhachi died in 1626, his ashes were collected in a jade funeral urn.[1]

Note: The following section is ambiguously canon.
It contains information that originates in a source that has not been deemed definitively canon.

In 1903, the ashes were stolen from their resting place in Peking. The remains were ferried downriver from Shanghai aboard the Rising Moon by a gang of bandits led by Shen Ch'un on behalf of a secret society looking to overthrow the Manchus in favor of a representative government.

However, the ship was sent off course by a storm and attacked by a sea serpent which wrecked the Rising Moon on a tiny atoll beyond a chain of islands northeast of Ningpo while Nurhaci's urn sat in the hold.[2]

Ambiguously canon information ends here.

The ashes were later smuggled out of the country and sold on the black market.[3]


Nurhachi's urn changes hands.

In 1935, Indiana Jones was hired by Lao Che, a Chinese crime lord, to retrieve the ashes. Jones discovered the ashes sitting in a Turkish pawn shop in Istanbul, and brought them to Shanghai.[3] Lao Che's son, Kao Kan, attempted to kill Jones and take the ashes before the scheduled meeting, but Jones stopped him and Kao Kan left with one less finger.[4]

Nevertheless, Jones took the artifact to Club Obi Wan to trade with Lao Che in exchange for the Peacock's Eye diamond. Lao Che took the urn into his possession but double-crossed Jones by keeping the diamond and poisoning the archaeologist, who ultimately had to fight his way out of the club with the antidote.[4]

Behind the scenes[]

During the development of the script for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, written by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, Nurhachi's ashes were going to be thrown into the face of Lao Che, then known as "Lao She". This idea was ultimately not used in the finished film.[5] The urn prop that contained Nurhachi's ashes currently resides in the Hollywood Museum (housed in the Max Factor building) in Los Angeles, California.

Following LucasArts' cancellation of Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix, project leader Aric Wilmunder considered, but ultimately never pitched, making an Indiana Jones video game set before the events of Temple of Doom, which would have depicted Indy meeting Short Round before coming across Nurhachi's remains so he could use them to bargain with Che.[6] The "Nurhachi job" would later be hinted at in the closing moments of Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb.[7]



Notes and references[]