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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Just hanging out


The hanging coffins of the Bo People 

The Bo People known as ‘Sons of the Cliffs’ made coffins, which are stowed in clefts on the vertical rock faces of Southern China.  It is mysterious as to how the heavy coffins were deposited on such steep, inhospitable cliffs. Some of those are coffins are placed on wooden beams projecting out from rock, others are on the rocks themselves. Still others are merely placed in caves, some are suspended on wooden stakes above the ground or stuck into the cliff face.  

They were also called Tu Tian, "Subjugators of the Sky," because it was apparently their perverse nature to "struggle against heaven." In the summer when it was hot, they wore leather coats and warmed themselves by the fire; in the winter, they wore a single sweat garment and carried big fans in their hands.  It is thought that the hanging coffins could prevent bodies from being taken by beasts and also bless the soul eternally.








Why the Bo lived this way and interred their dead on the sides of cliffs remain a mystery; only intermittent mention of them exists in Chinese history, and they eventually disappeared without a trace.

In the Philippines on the Cliffs of Sagada the elderly make their own coffins from hollowed out logs. The body is smoked to preserve for the five day pre-burial feast before being fitted into the tight space of the coffin which often requires breaking the deceased’s bones – after they have been placed in the coffin they are then bought to the mountainside to join their ancestors either suspended on the cliff or placed in a cave.

1 comment:

Zoe Crosse said...

like these images....did you take them?