Wednesday, August 10, 2011


To many, of our readers an account of a Chinese, funeral may be interesting. We therefore condense the following description! of funeral of tlie 1 ate Mr. Ping Kee, who £of many years held a prominent position among : the Chinese merchants of victoria,' from the Melbourne Telegraph, of the 7 Sfch instant:—The body, after "-being dressed in a complete ; walking suit of ' beautifully < embroidered -satin, was placed in. "a lead coffin. A, fan was placed in his right hand, and'*-a hand-' •■ kerchief in his left, and beside the body was deposited a quantity of gold and silver, the Chinese evidently., thinking,, from their keen conv_ mercial'instincts, that gold and silver.. . would only cease, to be useful when their- • friend had fairly arrived in the spirit land. Over all was thrown a heavy maroon-colored satin cover, the whole being enclosed by the coffin lid. This r leaden?coffin, was placed -inua heavy case of polished cedar, mounted heavily with solid brass. The cedar case bore the inscription, "Ping Kee, died 4th November; 1871, agod 42^ years." The procession, which consisted of nearly forty carriages, started from the house of the deceased. On the 1 front seat of the hearse was seated'a nephew of deceased, who scattered broadcast, as the procession advanced,!1 oblong sheets of yellow-colored paper. The grave was ah undergrountl brick sarcophagus, lined with cement and impervious to water, and, when the colh'n was placed in it stone slabs were placed on the top,-- also'- made- Watertight. When the procession arrived at'the ground the ceremony of'interment commenced. The eldest son was led forward, and he threw three .

handfuls of earth on the coffin, ami all the other children were led forward to imitate his example.' The grave was then closed, and those present kindled a fire, in which were thrown, joss sticks and joss 'papers. Candles of various colors and sizes were also lit and those present east into the fire their white hatbands., The Chinese wear white as a sign of rejoicing that their dead have entered into a better world, and thoso left are supposed to mourn only because they have not been chosen first. v After the closing of the grave, gifts were distributed. Little neatly constructed paper envelopes were handed to every one who had attended the funeral, and when these packets were opened they were found to contain ten shillings. Over £60 in silver was thus distributed. Cigars and candied sugar were also distributed liberally, and the ceremony concluded. Those who 'understand the feelings and customs of the Chinese will know that it is mnong them an object of the highest | import, engendered and fostered by their religious training, that their ."bodies, sliould ultimately rest in the soil of their own land. The body of Ping-' Kee was, therefore, interred with all the precautions necessary to enable it to bo lifted and carried to China eighteen months hence. Evening Post, Volume VII, Issue 247, 23 November 1871, Page 2

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