Flying Coffins

09.05.2013

Wooden coffins hanging on the rocks — an eerie sight. Not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, it is a way of burial was adopted in ancient times Chinese people bo.


AIR CEMETERY

BO High in the mountains, among the rocks on wooden wedges, props hanging coffins — the only reminder of the mysterious and almost vanished people, who lived in the south-western part of present-day China.

Bo has always remained an ethnic minority of the populous country. But, despite this, were able to create a bright distinctive culture that has evolved to continue, if not bloody war with the Ming Dynasty. Four hundred years ago the people of Bo was almost razed to the ground.

Has left no monuments of culture, except for the strange air of burial, the nature of which is still debate scientists. It is worth noting that in China, especially kind to the funerary traditions and generally to everything connected with the dead.

Most of the inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom is still honored tradition of burying their dead on the slopes of the hills facing the human habitation. This is believed to bring good luck descendants. From this point of view the coffins hanging on the rocks — not only a mystery, but blasphemy. What compels people to adhere to such a strange tradition?

And as they lifted up onto the rocks 100-200 meters coffin, weighing up to 200 pounds? There are legends that people could fly bo and air elements was it is subject. Because of their dead and buried so high.

But all this is speculation. Scientists have noticed that most of the graves are found in canyons, where the river runs downhill, put forward a hypothesis: people bo awaited spring floods, and the water had risen help them lead a "high-altitude work." But there is also another version, according to which the rock climbers were hammered wooden wedges and climbed on them as if on a makeshift ladder.

The probability of this assumption is confirmed by the holes found in the grounds of some of the rocks. And more recently in the archives of a library, located in the south of China, the researchers found a description of another very plausible way to lift the coffin on a rock — with the help of the ropes.

But if the question of "how" scientists somehow found the answer, the question "why?" Still remains open. According to some experts, bo, who believed that the soul enters the deceased to heaven, hoisting the coffins as high as possible in order to ease the soul the way to the top.

Others see the reason for this strange burial is not in the religious beliefs of the people. Bo hung coffins on cliffs to enemies could not desecrate the bodies of the dead. Very viable version, given the fact that to many cemeteries nobody got to this day …


COFFIN as a cultural monument

Technology coffins was simple and unpretentious. They are pretty rough hew out of solid wood. It is strange that many of the sarcophagi have survived to the present day, because of the paint, which protects the tree from destruction, more never heard of. By the way, modern scientists have found that most "fresh" coffins were installed on the rocks along the Yangtze River is only 400 years-ass.

Age of the oldest — of the order of thousands of years. But the most ancient tomb bo 2,5 thousand years! Today, the rock tombs bo — monuments of culture. Therefore, the Chinese government is a constant concern to keep them safe and sound. The restoration work was carried out three times — in 1974, 1985 and 2002.

This work is among other things helped the researchers to "reduce the debit to credit." It turned out that in the last ten years 20 graves had fallen into the water. But in the thickets of trees growing on one of the rocks, the restorers have discovered 16 previously unknown graves. Thus, today, rock bo cemetery account for 290 "exhibits".



Stairway to Heaven

But if you think that such a dark exotic characteristic only for China, you are wrong. Hanging cemetery there and in some other Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines — in the province of Sagada. Filipinos before putting the corpse in the coffin, his body was fumigated with special mixtures that it is less subject to degradation.

In the end, it turned out something like a mummy. She was laid up in a makeshift coffin, a function that is executed inside a hollow tree trunk, and placed in a narrow "Single" cave or hung on a rock. In fairness it should be noted that scientists discovered the cave here, brim full of coffins.

This led them to the idea that these "dorms" were buried mere mortals. A "Single Apartment" designed for people of high society. Experts have determined that the age of the oldest sagadanskogo burial is about 2,000 years old, and the youngest — 15 years.

Yes, custom coffins hung on the rocks existed here until the 90-ies of XX century. Only recently, Filipinos began to bury their dead in the ground. But local residents yearn for the old days, when the soul of the dead was closer to the heavens, and the ashes — well protected from floods, so frequent in Sagada.

SCAL was not enough …

What is Tana Toraja? Region Sulawesi — the third-largest island in Indonesia. And he is known for its unique funeral rites. Many centuries ago, local residents, sending their deceased on his last journey, constructed for them carved coffins, sarcophagi in the shape of boats and animals, put back the things that the deceased during his life, and left at the foot of the cliffs coffins.

But over time, began to plunder graves indifferent to the past and the traditions of the descendants, and the rite complicated. The bodies of the dead were put up in the mountains — in caves or in specially carved niches. And sometimes they are hung on the rocks, almost as much as did the Chinese.

It seems incredible, but in some strange way the natives bury their dead to this day. Poor man's body, who died outside of Tana Toraja, relatives, like hundreds of years ago, trying to bring home. The only difference is that before each village had its steep mountain for burial. And today, because of the lack of free rocks and cliffs locals use the common cemetery. Life is becoming more expensive, more expensive, and death. Individual rocks are not enough …

Max MASLIN

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