Salvadore Dali in 1971
Salvador Dali's remains were exhumed 28 years after his burial to determine whether he is the biological father of Pilar Abel, a 61-year-old clairvoyant who claims to be the only daughter of the great Spanish artist AFP/GettyImages

Salvador Dali's defining feature, his carefully curled moustache, has remained perfectly intact since he was buried 28 years ago.

Almost three decades after the surrealist artist's death, forensic experts were thrilled to discover Dali's iconic moustache looking exactly the same as during his lifetime.

"His moustache remains intact, set at 10 and 10, as he wished," Narcis Bardalet, the man who embalmed the artist's body, told Spanish media.

Dali's moustache whiskers are still set in the position of ten to ten on a clock face. "It's a miracle," Bardalet said emotionally.

Forensic experts exhumed Dali's body on Thursday (20 July) to help settle a long-standing paternity claim from a 61-year-old fortune teller who insists that she is the artist's only daughter.

Dali's tomb, which is buried in a crypt underneath his museum in his hometown of Figueres, Catalonia, was dug up so that experts could remove DNA samples from his hair and teeth. The results are expected in the next two weeks.

Pilar Abel, who works as a psychic in Catalonia, claims that her mother had a relationship with Dali while working as a maid in the Spanish port town of Cadaques, where the painter lived for years. She is convinced that she is the artist's only daughter, despite the fact that Dali once famously said: "Great geniuses produce mediocre children, and I don't want to go through that experience."

Abel gained permission from Catalonia's High Court this year to obtain samples from Dali's embalmed body.

"I just want to know the truth, and that's all," Abel said at a press conference on the eve of the exhumation. She said she had spent her life searching "for my identity, to find out who I am."

Abel said that she was not driven by the thought of inheriting a large part of Dali's estate. "My father deserves more than that," she said.

If the test confirms that Abel is the artist's biological daughter, she is entitled to about a "quarter of the estate, patrimony that Dali left under Catalan law" her lawyer Enrique Blazquez said.

"This includes copyright, paintings and everything else. But this is something that we will deal with when the time comes," he said.

Dali exhumation
Spanish artist Salvador Dali's body was exhumed to obtain DNA samples that could help settle a paternity lawsuit on 20 July 2017 Dali Museum