[Documents menu] Documents menu

Date: Sat, 11 Nov 1995 20:39:01 -0500
Sender: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <H-ASIA@msu.edu>
From: Steve Leibo <LEIBO@cnsvax.albany.edu>
Subject: H-ASIA: Cremation in China
To: Multiple recipients of list H-ASIA <H-ASIA@msu.edu>

Cremation in China

A dialog from the H-Asia list, November 1995

Date: November 11, 1995

A senior student who is writing an independent study paper on the Cultural influence of Buddhism on China realized that the Chinese learned to cremate their dead from Buddhist missionaries. But neither she nor I can find any specific references as to when cremation became a widespread practice in China. Most books on Buddhism in China do not even mention cremation. I would appreciate any help on this subject.

Shahid Refai (refais@rosnet.strose.edu)
College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY 12203

Date: Mon, 13 Nov 1995 20:52:13 -0500

One place to look is Patricia Ebrey, Cremation in Sung China, _American Historical Review_ 95 (1990), 406-428.

David Johnson
U.C. Berkeley

Date: November 18, 1995
From: Richard_Jaffe@ncsu.edu (Richard Jaffe)

Another source of information on cremation in China is the entry for Dabi(cremation) by Anna Seidel in Demi=E9ville, Paul, Sylvain Lévi, and J. Takakusu, eds. _Hooboogirin; dictionnaire encyclopedique du Bouddhisme d'apres les sources Chinoises et Japonaises_. Tokyo: Maison franco-japonaise, 1929-. Fasc. 6:573-585. The article discusses the Buddhist practice of cremation in India, China, and Japan.

Richard Jaffe
Dept. of Philosophy and Religion
Box 8103
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-8103

Tel. (919)515-6194
Fax (919)515-7856

Date: November 18, 1995

Ebrey's 'Confucianism and Family Rituals in Imperial China' has a brief discussion of cremation with some useful sources. If your student can read Chinese and time is not of the essence, I suggest she contact Chang Jianhua at the History Dept of Nankai University in Tianjin, who has been working on this subject recently. Unfortunately, the only reference I have at hand is also brief, and only concerns the Qing period, in Chang and Feng Erkang's Qingren shehui shenghuo, Tianjin renmin, 1990, pp253-7.

Regarding strippers at funerals, it was not uncommon in the Fuzhou area in 1993-4 to see pornographic videos at funerals, as well as at annual temple festivals. I haven't come across or heard of live strippers at ritual events in the PRC (yet)

Mike Szonyi
Department of History, McGill University
855 Sherbrooke St. W, Montreal, Canada H3A 2T7
tel: 514-398-4865