Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Funeral Customs
(978 words)

In China ancestor worship as the ritual veneration of the dead is the most important religious ritual in which the deceased (as ancestor) stands in a mutual relationship with his descendent. Every person was believed to have a spiritual soul (hun), which after death ascends to heaven, and a bodily soul (bo), which remains inside the body. In order to prevent the bodily soul from causing misfortune, the descendents provided a grave for it. This residence for the dead was equipped according to the needs of the deceased during his lifetime.

Graves document the social and intellectual sta…

Cite this page
Kuhn, Dieter, “Funeral Customs”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 22 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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