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DEATHSPACE IN HONG KONG, GUANGZHOU AND SEOUL: A REVIEW OF RECENT RESEARCH, 1995-2001
ELIZABETH K. TEATHER
Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
Vol. 41 (2001), pp. 329-339
Published by: Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23889725
Page Count: 11
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This paper introduces and summarises nine published papers on deathspace (urban cemeteries and columbaria) in Hong Kong, in Guangzhou, and in Seoul. It includes a paper on fengshui co-written with C. S. Chow. One paper examines the non-material worlds of Hong Kong's cemeteries, and identifies these as the worlds of the spirits, of fengshui, and of ritual time. Another focuses on grave furnishings, taking several graves as examples, including a symbolic grave (i.e. not containing remains). Case studies of four very different Hong Kong cemeteries are the topic of another paper. The architectural response to the need for buildings to contain ashes (cremains) is featured in a paper on Hong Kong's columbaria. This paper also summarises the shift from coffin burial to cremation in Hong Kong from the 1960s. A further paper examines the heritage significance of Hong Kong's urban cemeteries, interpreting this in terms of their being places of tribute, as well as being material forms of the historical and contemporary social fabric. An historical perspective is provided through a paper that traces how deceased Chinese sojourners were brought back from overseas to their ancestral places around the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Agendas shaping contemporary deathspace in Guangzhou are identified in another paper. Finally, in South Korea, the influence of traditional grave shapes on contemporary designs for graves to store ashes is noted, as well as the urgency of an official campaign to persuade citizens to consider cremation rather than coffin burial.
Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society © 2001 Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch