Saturday, 13 December 2008

I didn't know!





Always searching for paper, materials and ideas for new prints I went to Chinatown and got this lovely Joss paper. I thought I could use the silver and gold ones to print something on top of them and the others to wrap Christmas presents.

But a Chinese friend of ours came for a quick visit last night and with amusement and horror explained me that all these papers are for funerals, in the one with the shape of a dress there is a poem in the middle about the travel to the Mictlan with drawings of things the deceased could need once he get there.

The silver and golden ones on the other hand have more value. It's ghost money! My friend then proceeded to fold them as ingots. The way to send all these things to the other side is burning them. Fortunately he's got good information (his mum had a dream about it) and told me that it was a good thing to write down the name of the dead in need, so it could get fast and not lost in the post, the spirit post, that is.

He also strongly recommended not to use the paper to wrap presents. Specially to a Chinese person.

4 comments:

Martha, la de siempre said...

Que interesante todo lo que compartes Jazmín: tu idea, el descubrimiento, el significado... Por otra parte, en la foto donde aparece extendido el papel parece también el proyecto de un bello vestido... Conociendo de qué se trata podríamos decir que es la belleza que acompañará al bien morir...

Jazmin Velasco said...

Lindo, no? Estos chinos si saben.

Tim Budden said...

The same ghost money has got me into trouble on numerous occasions. Taiwan is deeply superstitious and on a recent visit to the resting place of my father in law I helped by putting the ghost money into the furnace. However I was putting both silver (for spirits) and gold (for Gods) in the same furnace, Apparently it was a major faux pas and did untoward damage and insult to both the spirits and the Gods. Be careful! There are some mean spirited Gods out there!!

greenwich printmakers said...

Oh God, is that right? I was really thinking in doing something profane with them... but then again I'm also very superstitious.
I will think how to combine the love of Mexicans for Dead and the respect Chinese have for it.
Mmmm....