Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hanging Coffins of Sichuan, Southern China

Since our childhood we have heard about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon - one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and have been fascinated by a city with flowers everywhere. Those people were really men of highest aesthetics and taste.

But we have only heard and read about these since these existed somewhere in 290 BC in the ancient city of Babylon, near present day Hillah, Babil province, in Iraq.

Hanging Coffins of Sichuan, Southern China

But what about if something is hanging and can be seen in our lives - no matter how eerie and awesome it may sound - what to talk of looking at? Well the 'Hanging Coffins' of Sichuan in Southern China is one such site that is also very aesthetic in nature, though eerie and awesome.

These hanging coffins are not very old - just 400 years attached to the mountain cliffs in Gongxian, Sichuan province of China. These are said to be left behind by the Bo people thought to have died out some 400 years ago. However, the earliest hanging coffin was one found in the Three Gorges area, dating back about 2,500 years to the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC- 476 BC).

Seeing these hanging coffins, the very first question that comes to one's mind is why hang the coffins on sheer mountain cliffs? Well the simple answer could be that the Bo people wanted their dead to be near their gods. And another logic could be that they wanted to same their dead's bodies from the animals - though this is not very convincing as birds have access to these coffins once the wooden tops withered away.

Each coffin is made from a hollowed out single tree trunk and was originally protected by a bronze cover.'Some of the tombs are nearly 3,000 years old and the most recent date back to about 1500. Nobody really knows why they dealt with their dead in this way,' explained one local expert. The coffins hang at heights varying from as low as 10 metres above the ground to 130 metres above the ground.

In view of their dilapidated condition, the local government has taken up a renovation of these coffins to stabilize and restore them. During the past two months, more than 40 coffins were restored and a further 16 were uncovered.

So if you have any plans to visit China, do include this eerie site in your travel plans - this is something very unique and one of its kind in the world.

Source/Photos: Mail Online

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Felix Lee said...

We do have hanging coffins at one province here in our place. The main reason they were hanged according to their is that they want to be near their gods.