Suspended Coffin & Boat Coffin

Suspended Coffin

The hanging coffin was suspended in the steep cliffs
Suspended Coffin
The suspended coffins are the coffins hung on the bluff of the precipice. They are usually hung 33 to 164 feet high and some even as high as 328 feet above the ground. Along the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River and the Three Little Gorges of the Daning River, the ancient suspended coffins can be commonly seen. Like the ancient plank road, it is also a mystery that puzzles numerous people.

The coffins are usually built in three ways. One is the stake style. Two or three holes are chiseled on the bluff in which stakes are inserted to support it. A second way is to chisel caves on the bluff and put the coffins in directly. And another is to put the coffins directly in the natural caves or cracks between the two cliffs.

Along the banks of the Daning River, there are hundreds of suspended coffins. When the cruise ship coming out the mouth of the Bawu Gorge (one of the Three Little Gorges), visitors can admire one in a square cave, on the eastern bank of the river. As it is 1,312 feet high above the water surface, people can only admire it by looking up. In order to let visitors see the suspended coffin clearly, a platform for viewing it has been built just opposite it over the river. A powerful telescope is situated there. Most coffins can be seen in the middle and upper reaches of the Daning River.

Research has found that the suspended coffins are one of the funeral customs of the Pu People (people who lived around the Daning River 2,000 years ago).The higher the coffin is hung; the greater the filial piety is expressed.

After the water level of the river is raised due to the Three Gorges Dam Project, visitors will be able to see the suspended coffins more clearly as the waterlevel rises.

Boat Coffin

The suspended coffin preserved in the museumThe Boat Coffin was a funeral custom in ancient times. Usually a dead person was put into a coffin shaped like a boat. It was believed the dead would traverse the sea and return to their hometown. As a matter of fact, the coffin was not put into the river; it was hung on a cliff or buried in the ground where the ancestral temple was built.

Like the ancient suspended coffins, the boat coffins have aroused the interest of many people eager to explore its mystery. People believe it was a funeral custom of the ancient fishermen livingin Daning River Area. A black boat coffin was found on a cliff on the western bank of Dicui Gorge (one of the Three Little Gorges). The one found in Dicui Gorge is unique because of its natural environment.

On the left of the boat coffin, black and brown vines emerge from a crack inthe cliff wall. The tumble of vines resembles a fishing net. Fifty five yardsto the left, a sixteen foot stalactite stands like a graybeard wearing a palm-barkrain cape and a bamboo hat. A tree root looking like the fishing net's rope windsfrom the hand of graybeard. The graybeard seems to cast the net into the river.As there is a boat, a net, and the fisherman, local people call the place 'Fishing Village'. In fact, the area is quite rich in fish. What a coincidence.

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