Yang Fusheng 杨福生 was a very well-respected man, and head of Dingcun village for many years:
Many people came to his funeral, including one foreigner – me.
I asked the Yang-family whether it was okay if I stayed and took pictures, and they very kindly allowed me complete freedom.
Obviously I tried to make myself invisible again. But again, there’s no way.
In the process I took more than 400 pictures (I rarely shoot this much), and I have only been able to get rid of a very few of them.
I just wasn’t able to delete these pictures.
So here’s the set. It’s a lot, so I’m going to limit the text to captions for you.
The family is performing the rituals, dressed in white mourning dress:
There are prayers and food offerings:
Then the family’s friends start carrying the casket on its way out of town:
Outside of the courtyard, more prayers:
Then the casket has to cross the fire:
A risky process for the carriers:
The long march out into the hills begins:
All ritual items get carried along the way:
The men in the family lead the trek up into the hills:
…and a long trek it is:
…all the way up to the grave site:
The friends slowly lower the casket into the grave:
Figures of white cranes, amongst other things, are put into the grave with the casket:
Then the hole gets filled up, and the family watches in silence:
While the grave site slowly turns into a small mound, food offerings are placed in front of it, and a stack of all the other things used in the ceremonial process is being piled up and prepared for burning:
Only the family remains during this last fire:
…watching in silence as the flames eat all the things symbolizing this day, and eventually slowly die:
Then the small group slowly makes its way back down into the valley:
…leaving behind the site of the grave of Yang Fusheng:
…a very well-respected man:
I had lunch with the family I was staying with, then played around with the neighbors a bit:
So I got off for a terribly late start and walked until late at night, listening to the same African song over and over again:
Even though my shoes were wet because I had forgotten to put on my gaiters before, and even though I couldn’t really see where I was going, even though it was cold like hell, it still felt somehow…