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: 悬棺; traditional Chinese: 懸棺; pinyin: xuán guān) which also means "hanging coffin".
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.
According to Chinaculture.org it was said that the hanging coffins could prevent bodies from being taken by beasts and also bless the soul eternally. 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. Locations of hanging coffins include:
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- "Hanging coffins: China's mysterious sky graveyards". CNN Travel. 2017-07-07. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
- "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.
- 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.
- "Bo People Hanging Coffin of Doushaguan in Yanjin County, Zhaotong".
- Mysterious Hanging Coffins of the Bo (link broken)
- Hanging Coffins a Clue to Ba Mystery
- Hanging coffins in Yunnan
- Mysterious Hanging Coffins of China (documentary)
- Sagada Igorot Online - Hanging Coffins
- Hanging Coffins of Sagada
- Picture of hanging coffins in Sagada
- Visit Sagada
- Hanging Coffins of Sagada : A dying Igorot Tradition