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made of masonwork shaped like little houses, others mere square tombs, or earthy tumuli, and not a few coffins are laid upon the ground. It is seldom the Chinese hew graves out of the rock, or dig large vaults; their care is to make a showy grave, and at the same time a convenient one for performing the prescribed rites. When the day of interment arrives, which is usually the nearest lucky day to the third seventh after death, the friends assemble at the house. A band of musicians accompanies the procession, in which is also carried the ancestral tablet of the deceased in a separate sedan, accompanied sometimes by a sacrifice and the tablets of the offices and dignities of the family. The mourners are dressed entirely in white, or wear a white fillet around the head; the sons of the deceased must put on the expression and habiliments of woe, and the eldest one is at times supported along the street to the grave in all the eloquence and attitude of grief, although it may have been years since his father went to “wander among the genii.” The women and children of the family follow, and at intervals cry and wail. A man goes ahead and scatters paper money in the way to purchase the goodwill of such wandering spirits as are prowling about. Different figures and banners are carried according to the means and rank of the family, which, with the friends and crowd attracted by the show, sometimes swell the train to a great length. The grave is deep, and lime is freely mixed with the earth thrown in ; a body is never put into an old grave, while anything remains of the former-occupant; crackers are fired, libations poured out, and prayers recited, and afterwards papers, folded into the shape of clothes, horses, money, and everything he can possibly want in the land of shadows (which Davis calls a wise economy), are burned for the use of the deceased. The tablet and sacrifice are then carried back, and the family feast on the latter, or dis. tribute it among the poor around the door, while the former is placed-in the ancestral hall. The married daughters of the dead are not considered part of the family, and wear no mourning ; nor are they always invited to their father's funeral. The period of mourning for a father is nominally three years, but actually reduced to twenty-seven months; the persons required to observe this are enumerated in the Code, and Secs. clxxix—clxxxi, contain the penalties so?concealing the death of
COSTUMES AND PERIOD OF MOURNING. 267
a parent, or misrepresenting it, and of omitting the proper formalities. Burning the corpse, or casting it into the water, unfeel. ingly exposing it in the house longer than a year, and making the funeral ceremony and feast an occasion of merrymaking, and indecorous meeting of males and females, are also prohibited. For thirty days after the demise, the nearest kindred must not shave their heads nor change their dress, but rather exhibit a slovenly, slipshod appearance, as if grief had taken away both appetite and decorum. Half mourning is blue, and this is usually exhibited in a pair of blue shoes and a blue silken cord woven in the queue, instead of a red one ; grass shoes neatly made, are now . and then worn. The visiting cards also indicate that the time of mourning has not passed. The expenses of money and time incurred by the rich are great, and in some cases the priests receive large sums for masses. Two funerals, at Canton, are mentioned in Bridgman's Letters from China as having cost more than ten thousand dollars each.* When the empress dies, officers are required to put on mourning, take the buttons and fringes from their caps, stamp their seals with blue, instead of red ink, and go through a prescribed set of ceremonies; they must not shave their heads for a hundred days, nor the people for a month. Full details of the ceremonies or. dered on the occasion of the decease of the empress, or “interior assistant, who for thirteen years had held the situation of earth to heaven,” were published in 1833, in both Manchu and Chinese. When the emperor dies, all his subjects let their hair grow for a hundred days, marriages are postponed, theatres and sports disallowed, and a ceremonial gloom and dishabille pervades the empire. De Guignes says the emperor Shunchi ordered thirty persons to be immolated at the funeral of his consort; but Kanghí, his son, forbade four women from sacrificing themselves on the death of his empress. In the drawing on the next page, the tablets are arranged on the same level, and the sacrifice laid on the altar before them; the character shau, “ longevity,” is drawn on the wall behind. During the ceremonies, fire-crackers are let off and papers burned, and after it the feast is spread.
* Letters from China, p. 16. Chinese Repository, Vol. IV., p. 302, Vol. II., p. 499.
The hall of ancestors is found in the house of almost every member of the family, but always in that of the eldest son. In rich families it is a separate building ; in others a room set apart for the purpose, and in many a mere shelf or shrine. The tablet consists of a board called shin chu, i.e. house of the spirit, about twelve inches long and three wide, placed upright in a block, and having the name, quality, and date of birth and death, carved in the wood. A receptacle is often "cut in the back, containing pieces of paper bearing the names of the higher ancestors, or other members of the family. Incense and papers are daily burned before them, accompanied by a bow or act of homage, forming in fact a sort of family prayer. The tablets are ranged in chronological order, those of the same generation being placed
CHARACTER OF THE ANCESTRAL WORSHIP. 269
in a line. When the hall is large, and the family rich, no pains are spared to adorn it with banners, and insignia of wealth and rank, and on festival days it serves as a convenient place for friends to meet, or indeed for any extraordinary family occasion. A person residing near Macao spent about $1500 in the erection of a hall, and on the dedication day, the female members of his family assembled with his sons and descendants, to assist in the ceremonies. The portraits of the deceased are also suspended in the hall, but effigies or images are not now made. In the first part of April, during the term called tsing-ming, a general worship of ancestors, called pai shan, or “worshipping at the hills,” is observed. The whole population, men, women, and children, repair to their family tombs, carrying a tray containing the sacrifice, and libations for offering, and the candles, paper, and incense, for burning, and there go through a variety of ceremonies and prayers. The grave is also carefully repaired and swept, and at the close of the service, three pieces of turf are placed at the back and front of the grave, to retain long strips of red and white paper; this indicates that the accustomed rites have been performed, and these fugitive testimonials remain fluttering in the wind, long enough to announce it to all the friends as well as enemies of the family; for when a grave has been neglected three years, it is sometimes dug over, and the land resold. “Such are the harmless, if not meritorious forms of respect for the dead,” says Davis, “which the Jesuits wisely tolerated in their converts, knowing the consequences of outraging their most cherished prejudices; but the crowds of ignorant monks, who flocked to the breach which those scientific and able men had opened, jealous, perhaps, of their success, brought this as a charge against them, until the point became one of serious controversy, and reference to the pope. His holiness espoused the bigoted and unwiser part, which led to the expulsion of the monks of all varieties.” And elsewhere, he says, the worship paid to ancestors is “not exactly idolatrous, for they sacrifice to the invisible spirit, and not to any representation of it in the figure of an idol.” This distinction is much the same as that alleged by the Greek church, which disallows images, but permits gold and silver pictures, having the face and hands only painted; for Sir John Davis, himself being a Protestant, probably admits, that worship paid to any other object besides the true
God is idolatry; and that the Chinese do worship their ancestors, and implore their assistance, is evident from the prayer offered at the tombs, a translation of one of which is here introduced.
“Taukwang, 12th year, 3d moon, 1st day. I, Lin Kwang, the second son of the third generation, presume to come before the grave of my ancestor, Lin Kung. Revolving years have brought again the season of spring. Cherishing sentiments of veneration, I look up and sweep your tomb. Prostrate I pray that you will come and be present; and that you will grant to your posterity that they may be prosperous and illustrious; at this season of genial showers and gentle breezes, I desire to recompense the root of my existence, and exert myself sincerely. Always grant your safe protection. My trust is in your divine spirit. Reverently, I present the five-fold sacrifice of a pig, a fowl, a duck, a goose, and a fish; also, an offering of five plates of fruit, with libations of spirituous liquors, earnestly entreating that you will come and view them. With the most attentive respect, this annunciation is presented on high.”
It is not easy to perceive, perhaps, why the pope and the Dominicans were so much opposed to the worship of ancestral penates among the Chinese, when they performed much the same services * themselves before the images of Mary, Joseph, Cecilia, Ignatius, and hundreds of other deified mortals; but it is somewhat surprising that a Protestant should describe this worship as consist. ing of “harmless, if not meritorious forms of respect for the dead.” Mr. Fortune, too, thinks “a considerable portion of this worship springs from a higher and purer source than a mere matter of form, and that when the Chinese periodically visit the tombs of their fathers, to worship and pay respect to their memory, they indulge in the pleasing reflection, that when they themselves are no more their graves will not be neglected or forgotten.” This feeling no doubt actuates them, but it is mingled with idolatry; and there can be no dispute, one would think, about its idolatrous character; and it is an idolatry, too, which is likely to form one of the greatest obstacles to the spread of the gospel. The few Chinese who have embraced the doctrines of the New Testament, and who may be supposed qualified to judge of their own acts and feelings, regard the rites as superstitious and sinful. It is a form of worship, indeed, which presents fewer revolting features than most systems of false religion, merely consisting of pouring out libations, and burning paper and candles