This photo was taken in July 1913 by French photographer Albert Kahn. Albert Kahn was a millionaire banker who pioneered color photography using the process invented by the Lumière brothers. During his trip through exotic countries, Albert Kahn visited Mongolia where he took this picture of a woman who was condemned to slow and painful starvation by being deposited in a remote desert inside a wooden crate that was to become her tomb.
The photo was first published in the 1922 issue of National Geographic. It was the publishers who made the claim that the woman was condemned to die of starvation. Since then, many people expressed doubts over the story, although the authenticity of the photo is undisputed. I don’t think anyone’s been able to explain the food bowls on the ground, although those could have been for water to prolong her suffering. Death by dehydration is fast compared to death by starvation.