Ancestral Images: A Hong Kong Collection (Royal Asiatic by Hugh Baker

By Hugh Baker

A brand new variation in a single quantity of Hugh Baker's celebrated 3 volumes of Ancestral photos initially released in 1979, 1980 and 1981. The a hundred and twenty articles and images discover daily life, customs and rituals in Hong Kong's rural New Territories. each one mouthful is whole in itself, yet jointly the articles quantity to a considerable ceremonial dinner. They examine faith, nutrition, language, historical past, gala's, relatives, unusual happenings and extended family war. The ebook records a lot which could now not be came upon. however it additionally presents an figuring out of a global which has now not but solely disappeared, and which nonetheless kinds the history for all times in smooth, city Hong Kong.

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Alternatively a pole can be pushed through the cage lengthwise and two men can then easily carry the pig between them on their shoulders. The open nature of the baskets prevents overheating and suffocation. In cases of adultery in the past, it was considered fitting that drowning should be the punishment for the offenders. There was a case in the New Territories as late as the 1960s where an unofficial village court decided to carry out such a sentence. The adulterous couple were placed in pig baskets just like these, and were only saved from the pond’s murky waters by the timely arrival of a lorry-load of police, summoned on the telephone by a sensible citizen.

But ancestor worship costs money. Each clan at some time in its history has set aside land and property in the name of its founding ancestor, and the income from the property of this “trust” (jo-tong 祖堂) is used to finance the ceremonies. There need be no fear that there will be insufficient pork, incense, or firecrackers to worship the ancestor in the manner to which his position entitles him. As the centuries went by, other ancestors within the clan would be singled out as especially important for some reason — such as that they had been eminent scholars or very wealthy — and more trust land would be set aside to provide for their worship.

The Hong Kong area is not noted for its trees, man’s savage attacks having changed what was practically virgin forest a thousand years ago into the barren, eroded landscape of today. Happily, afforestation has reversed the trend in recent years. The dictates of geomancy have also provided some relief: to protect the backs of villages from malign influences groves of trees are left untouched and sacrosanct, and in these can be seen something of what the countryside used to be. The twigs, leaves and fruits of the trees are used in cooking, medicine and rituals.

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