Hanging coffins

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Hanging coffins at Sagada, Mountain Province in the Philippines.
One of the hanging tombs of the Ku People at Bainitang (白泥塘), Qiubei county, Wenshan prefecture, Yunnan province, China.

Hanging coffins are coffins which have been placed on cliffs. They can be found in various locations, including China, Indonesia, and the Philippines. In China, they are known in Mandarin as xuanguan (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: xuán guān) which also means "hanging coffin".

China[edit]

One of the hanging tombs (example of an exposed natural site) of the Ku People at Bainitang (白泥塘), Qiubei county, Wenshan prefecture, Yunnan province, China.

Hanging coffins are an ancient funeral custom of some ethnic groups, especially the Bo people of southern China. Coffins of various shapes were mostly carved from one whole piece of wood. Hanging coffins either lie on beams projecting outward from vertical faces such as mountains, are placed in caves in the face of cliffs, or sit on natural rock projections on mountain faces.

It was said that the hanging coffins could prevent bodies from being taken by beasts and also bless the soul eternally.[1] Spiritually, the Bo people viewed the mountain cliffs as a stairway to heaven and believed that by placing the coffins up high the deceased would be closer to heaven. A practical reason for placing the coffins on cliffs includes isolation, so that they are hard for animals to reach and less vulnerable to destruction.[2] Locations of hanging coffins include:[3]

General view of the cliff face at Bainitang (白泥塘), site of the hanging tombs of the Ku people in Qiubei County, Wenshan prefecture, Yunnan province, China.

Philippines[edit]

Hanging coffins can be found in Sagada, Mountain Province, Luzon Island.

Indonesia[edit]

Hanging coffins and funeral effigies of the Sa'dan Toraja people of upland Sulawesi are found in Londa Nanggala cave.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Hanging Coffin". The Hanging Coffin. chinaculture.org. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  2. ^ Man, Wong How (October 1991). "Hanging Coffins of the Bo People". Archeology. 44 (5): 64, 66. JSTOR 41766013.
  3. ^ "Hanging coffins: China's mysterious sky graveyards". CNN Travel. 2017-07-07. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
  4. ^ "131 ancient Chinese 'hanging' coffins found on side of 100m cliff near Three Gorges Dam". South China Morning Post. 15 December 2015. Archived from the original on December 16, 2015.
  5. ^ Holm, David. 2003. Killing a buffalo for the ancestors: a Zhuang cosmological text from Southwest China. DeKalb, IL: Southeast Asia Publications, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University.
  • 陸敬嚴:《中國懸棺研究︰中國懸棺問題的理論與實踐》
  • 陳明芳:《中國懸棺葬》

External links[edit]

China[edit]

Philippines[edit]

Indonesia[edit]