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The Book of Rites 《禮記》
《喪大記》 The Greater Record of Mourning Rites
》 The Greater Record of Mourning Rites
When the illness was extreme, all about the establishment was swept clean, inside and out. In the case of a ruler or Great officer, the stands, with the martial instruments suspended from them, were removed; in that of an officer, his lute and cithern. The sufferer lay with his head to the east, under the window on the north. His couch was removed (and he was laid on the ground). The clothes ordinarily worn at home were removed, and new clothes substituted for them. (In moving the body) one person took hold of each limb. Males and females changed their dress. Some fine floss was put (on the mouth and nostrils), to make sure that the breath was gone. A man was not permitted to die in the hands of the women, or a woman in the hands of the men.
A ruler and his wife both died in the Great chamber, a Great officer and his acknowledged wife in the Proper chamber; the not yet acknowledged wife of a high minister, in an inferior chamber, but the corpse was then removed to the higher chamber. The wives of officers died in their chambers.
At (the ceremony of) calling back the soul, if (the deceased were a lord on whose territory) there were forests and copses, the forester arranged the steps (by which to go up on the roof); and if there were no forests, one of the salvage men (employed about the court in menial offices) did so. An officer of low rank performed the ceremony. All who did so employed some of the court robes (of the deceased) - for a ruler, the robe with the descending dragon; for the wife, that with the descending pheasant; for a Great officer, the dark robe and red skirt; for his recognised wife, the robe of fresh yellow; for an officer, that worn with the cap of deep purple leather; and for his wife, the dark dress with the red border. In all cases they ascended from the east wing to the middle of the roof, where the footing was perilous. Facing the north, they gave three loud calls for the deceased, after which they rolled up the garment they had employed, and cast it down in front, where the curator of the robes received it, and then they themselves descended by the wing on the north-west. If the deceased were a visitor, and in a public lodging, his soul was called back; if the lodging were private, it was not called back. If he were in the open country, one got up on the left end of the nave of the carriage in which he had been riding, and called it back.
The garment which had been used in calling the soul back was not employed to cover the corpse, nor in dressing it. In calling back the soul of a wife, the upper robe with the purple border in which she had been married was not employed. In all cases of calling back the soul, a man was called by his name, and a woman by her designation. Nothing but the wailing preceded the calling the soul back. After that calling they did what was requisite on an occasion of death.
Immediately after death, the principal mourners sobbed; brothers and cousins (of the deceased) wailed; his female relatives wailed and leaped.
When the dead body (of a ruler) had been placed properly (beneath the window with the head to the south), his son sat (or knelt) on the east; his ministers, Great officers, uncles, cousins, their sons and grandsons, stood (also) on the east; the multitude of ordinary officers, who had the charge of the different departments, wailed below the hall, facing the north. His wife knelt on the west; the wives, aunts, sisters, their daughters and grand-daughters, whose husbands were of the same surname as he, stood (behind her) on the west; and the wives, his relatives of the same surname, whose position had been confirmed in their relation to their husbands, at the head of all the others married similarly to husbands of other surnames, wailed above in the hall, facing the north.
At the mourning rites (immediately after death) of a Great officer, the (son), presiding, knelt on the east, and the wife, presiding, on the west. The husbands and wives (among the relations) whose positions had been officially confirmed, sat (or knelt); others who had not that confirmation, stood. At the rites for a deceased officer, the son presiding, uncles, brothers, and cousins, with their sons and grandsons, all sat (or knelt) on the east; the wife presiding, aunts, sisters, and cousins, with their female children and grandchildren, all sat (or knelt) on the west. Whenever they wailed by the corpse in the apartment, the presiding mourner did so, holding up the shroud with his two hands at the same time.
At the mourning rites of a ruler, before the slighter dressing was completed, the principal mourner came out to receive the visit of a refugee ruler, or a visitor from another state. At those for a Great officer, at the same period, he came out to receive a message from his ruler. At those for an ordinary officer, also at the same period, he came out to receive a Great officer, if he were not engaged in the dressing.
Whenever the presiding mourner went forth (to meet visitors), he had his feet bare, his skirt tucked under his girdle, and his hands across his chest over his heart. Having gone down by the steps on the west, if a ruler, he bowed to a refugee ruler, or a minister commissioned from another state, each in his proper place. When a message from his ruler came to a Great officer, he came to the outside of the door of the apartment (where the dead was), to receive the messenger who had ascended to the hall and communicated his instructions. (They then went down together), and the mourner bowed to the messenger below. When a Great officer came himself to condole with an ordinary officer, the latter wailed along with him, but did not meet him outside the gate.
The wife of a ruler went out (of her apartment) on a visit from the wife of a refugee ruler. The confirmed wife (of a Great officer) went out (in the same way) on the arrival of a message from the ruler's wife. The wife of an officer, if not engaged in the dressing, (also) went out to receive the confirmed wife (of a Great officer).
At the slighter dressing, the presiding mourner took his place inside the door (on the east of it), and the presiding wife had her face to the east. When the dressing was ended, both of them made as if they leant on the body, and leaped. The mourner unbared his breast, took off the tufts of juvenility, and bound up his hair with sackcloth. The wife knotted up her hair, and put on her sackcloth girdle in her room.
When the curtain (which screened the body) was removed, the men and women carried it and put it down in the hall, (the eldest son) going down the step's and bowing (to the visitors).
The (young) ruler (who was mourning) bowed to refugee lords, and to ministers, commissioners from other states. Great officers and other officers bowed to ministers and Great officers in their respective places. In the case of (the three grades of) officers, they received three side bows, one for each grade. The ruler's wife also bowed to the wife of a refugee lord, above in the hall. With regard to the wives of Great officers and of other officers, she bowed specially to each whose position had received the official appointment; to the others she gave a general bow - all above in the hall.
When the mourner had gone to his own place (after bowing to his visitors), he closed the robe which was drawn on one side, covering his breast, put on his girdle and head-band, and leapt. When the mourning was for his mother, he went to his place, and tied up his hair, after which he put down the offerings by the body. The visitors who had come to condole, covered their fur robes, put the roll at the back of their caps, assumed their girdles and head-bands, and leapt in correspondence with the mourner.
At the funeral rites for a ruler, the chief forester supplied wood and horns; the chief of the salvage-men supplied the vases for water; the chief of the slaughtering department supplied boilers; and (an officer from the department of) the minister of War (saw to the) hanging of these. Thus they secured the succession of wailers. Some of those in the department took their part in the wailing. If they did not hang up the vases, and the Great officers were sufficient to take the wailing in turns, then they did not use those others. In the hall of the ruler there were two lights above and two below; for that of a Great officer, one above and two below; for that of an ordinary officer, one above and one below.
When the guests went out, the curtain was removed.
When they were wailing the corpse above in the hall, the principal mourner was at the east; visitors coming from without, took their place at the west, and the women stood facing the south.
The wife (presiding), in receiving guests and escorting them, did not go down from the hall with them. If she did go down (as with the wife of the ruler), she bowed to her, but did not wail. If the son (presiding), had occasion to go outside the door of the apartment, and saw the guest (whom he so went to meet), he did not wail. When there was no female to preside, a son did so, and bowed to the female visitors inside the door of the apartment. If there were no son to preside, a daughter did so, and bowed to the male visitors at the foot of the steps on the east. If the son were a child, then he was carried in his sackcloth in the arms, and his bearer bowed for him. If the successor of the deceased were not present, and wag a man of rank, an apology was made to the guests; if he were not a man of rank, some other one bowed to them for him. If he were anywhere in the state, they waited for him; if he had gone beyond it, the encoffining and burial might go on. The funeral rites might proceed without the presence of the successor of the deceased, but not without one to preside over them.
At the mourning rites for a ruler, on the third day his son and his wife assumed the staff. On the fifth day, when the corpse was put into the coffin, his daughters who had become the wives of Great officers were allowed to use it. His (eldest) son and Great officers used it outside the door of the apartment (where the coffin was); inside the door they carried it in their hands (but did not use it). The wife and his daughters, the wives of Great officers, used the staff in their rooms; when they went to their places (in the apartment where the coffin was), people were employed to hold it for them. When a message came from the king, (the son presiding) put away his staff; when one came from the ruler of another state, he only held it in his hand. When attending to any consultation of the tortoise-shell about the corpse, he put away his staff. A Great officer, in the place of the ruler, carried his staff in his hand; at another Great officer's, he used it.
At the mourning rites for a Great officer, on the morning of the third day, when the body was put into the coffin, his son presiding, his wife presiding, and the steward of the House, all assumed the staff. On a message from the ruler, the (new) Great officer put away his staff; on a message from another Great officer, he carried it in his hand. His wife, on a message from the wife of the ruler, put her staff away; on a message from the confirmed wife (of another Great officer), she gave it to some one to hold for her.
At the mourning rites for an officer, the body on the second day was put into the coffin. On the morning of the third day, the presiding mourner assumed the staff, and his wife also. The same observances as in the rites fur a Great officer were observed on messages arriving from the ruler or his wife, or from a Great officer and his confirmed wife.
All the sons assumed the staff, but only the eldest son used it when they were going to their places (in the apartment where the coffin was). Great officers and other officers, when wailing by the coffin, used the staff; when wailing by the bier, they carried it in their hands. When the staff (used in mourning) was thrown away, it was broken and thrown away in secret.
As soon as death took place, the corpse was transferred to the couch, and covered with a large sheet. The clothes in which the deceased had died were removed. A servant plugged the mouth open with the spoon of horn; and to keep the feet from contracting, an easy stool was employed. These observances were the same for a ruler, a Great officer, and an ordinary officer.
The servant in charge of the apartments drew the water, and without removing the well-rope from the bucket gathered it up, and carried the whole up to the top of the steps. There, without going on the hall, he gave it to the attendants in waiting on the body. These then went in to wash the corpse, four lower servants holding up the sheet, and two performing the washing; having put the water in basins, to which they took it with ladles. In washing they used napkins of fine linen, and in drying the body the ordinary bathing clothes. Another servant then pared the nails of the feet, after which they threw away the rest of the water into the pit. At the funeral rites for a mother (or other female), the female attendants in waiting in the inner room held up the sheet and washed the body.
The servant in charge of the apartments, having drawn water and given it to the attendants in waiting on the body, these prepared the wash for the head, above in the hall - for a ruler, made from maize-water; for a Great officer, from that of the glutinous millet; and for an ordinary officer, that from maize-water. After this, some of the forester's department made a sort of furnace at the foot of the wall on the west; and the potter brought out a large boiler, in which the servant in charge of the apartments should boil the water. The servants of the forester's department brought the fuel which he had removed from the crypt in the north-west of the apartment, now converted into a shrine, to use for that purpose. When the water was heated, he gave it to the attendants, who proceeded to wash the head, and poured the water into an earthenware basin, using the napkin as on ordinary occasions to dry the head. Another servant then clipped the nails of the fingers, and wiped the beard. The water was then thrown into the pit.
For a ruler they put down a large vessel, full of ice; for a Great officer, a middle-sized one, full of ice; and for an ordinary officer, only one of earthenware, without any ice in it. Over these they placed the couch with a single sheet and pillow on it; another couch on which the jade should be put into the mouth; and another still, where the fuller dressing should be done. Then the corpse was removed to a couch in the hall, on which was a pillow and mat. The same forms were observed for a ruler, a Great officer, and an ordinary officer.
At the mourning rites for a ruler, his (eldest) son, Great officers, his other sons and all the (other) officers (employed about the court), ate nothing for three days, but confined themselves to gruel. (Afterwards) for their consumption they received in the morning a handful of rice, and another in the evening; which they ate without any observance of stated times. Officers (at a distance) were restricted to coarse rice and water for their drink, without regard to any stated times. The wife (of the new ruler), the confirmed wives (of the Great officers), and all the members of their harems, had coarse rice and drank water, having no regard in their eating to stated times.
At the mourning rites for a Great officer, the presiding mourner, the steward, and grandsons, all were confined to gruel. All the inferior officers were restricted to coarse rice, and water to drink. Wives and concubines took coarse rice, and water to drink. At the rites for an ordinary officer the same rules were observed.
After the burial, the presiding mourner had (only) coarse rice and water to drink; he did not eat vegetables or fruits. His wife observed the same rule. So it was in the case of rulers, Great officers, and other officers. After the change of mourning, towards the end of the year, they ate vegetables and fruit; and after the subsequent sacrifice, they ate flesh. They took their gruel in bowls, and did not wash their bands (before doing so). When they took their rice from the basket, they washed their hands. They ate their vegetables along with pickles and sauces. When they first ate flesh, it was dry flesh; when they first drank liquor, it was that newly made.
During the mourning of a year, on three occasions they abstained from eating. When eating coarse rice, with water to drink, they did not eat vegetables or fruits. After the burial, at the end of three months, they ate flesh and drank liquor. When the year's mourning was ended, they did not eat flesh nor drink liquor. When the father was alive, in the mourning of nine months, the rules were the same as in that for a year, on account of the mother or of the wife. Though they ate flesh and drank liquor, they could not take the enjoyment of these things in company with others.
During the mourning for five months, and that for three months, it was allowable to abstain from eating once or twice. Between the coffining and burial, when eating flesh and drinking liquor, they did not take the enjoyment of these things in company with others. While mourning for an aunt, the confirmed wife of an uncle, one's old ruler, or the head of a clan, they ate flesh and drank liquor. If a mourner could not eat the gruel, he might eat soup of vegetables. If he were ill, he might eat flesh and drink liquor. At fifty, one did not go through all the observances of mourning. At seventy, he simply wore the sackcloth on his person.
After the burial, if his ruler feasted a mourner, he partook of the viands; if a Great officer or a friend of his father did so, he partook in the same way. He, did not even decline the grain and flesh that might be set before him, but wine and new wine he declined.
The slighter dressing was performed inside the door (of the apartment where the body was); the fuller dressing (at the top of) the steps (leading up to the reception hall) on the east. The body of a ruler was laid on a mat of fine bamboo; of a Great officer, on one of typha grass; and of an ordinary officer, on one of phragmites grass. At the slighter dressing one band of cloth was laid straight, and, there were three bands laid cross-wise. The sheet for a ruler's body was embroidered; for a Great officer's, white; for an ordinary officer's, black - each had one sheet. There were nineteen suits of clothes; those for the ruler, displayed in the corridor on the east; and those for a Great officer, or a common officer, inside the apartments - all with their collars towards the west, those in the north being the best. The sash and sheet were not reckoned among them.
At the fuller dressing there were three bands of cloth laid straight, and five laid cross-wise. There were (also) strings of cloth, and two sheets - equally for a ruler, a Great officer, and a common officer. The clothes for a ruler consisted of one hundred suits, displayed in the courtyard, having their collars towards the north, those on the west being the best; those of a Great officer were fifty suits, displayed in the corridor on the east, having the collars towards the west, those on the south being the best; those of a common officer were thirty suits, displayed also in the corridor on the east, with their collars towards the west, the best on the south. The bands and strings were of the same quality as the court robes. One strip of the band-cloth was divided into three, but at the ends was not further divided. The sheets were made of five pieces, without strings or buttons.
Among the clothes at the slighter dressing, the sacrificial robes were not placed below the others. For the ruler no clothes were used that were presented. For a Great officer and a common officer, the sacrificial (and other) robes belonging to the principal mourner were all used, and then they used those contributed by their relatives; but these were not displayed along with the others. At the slighter dressing, for a ruler, a Great officer, and a common officer, they used wadded upper robes and sheets. At the greater dressing, the number of sacrificial (and other) robes put on a ruler, a Great officer, or another officer', was not definitely fixed; but the upper robes and sheets for a ruler had only a thin lining, (instead of being wadded); for a Great officer and a common officer, they were as at the slighter dressing.
The long robe (worn in private) had a shorter one placed over it; it was not displayed alone. It was the rule that with the upper garment the lower one should also be shown. So only could they be called a suit.
All who set forth the clothes took them from the chests in which they had been deposited; and those who received. the clothes brought (as contributions) placed them in (similar) chests. In going up to the hall and descending from it, they did so by the steps on the west. They displayed the clothes without rumpling them. They did not admit any that were not correct; nor any of fine or coarse dolychos fibre or of coarse flax.
All engaged in dressing the corpse had their arms bared; those who moved it into the coffin, had their breasts covered. At the funeral rites for a ruler, the Great officer of prayer performed the dressing, assisted by all the members of his department; at those for a Great officer, the same officer stood by, and saw all the others dress the body; at those of a common officer, the members of that department stood by, while other officers (his friends) performed the dressing.
At both the dressings the sacrificial robes were not placed below the others. They were all placed with the lappel to lie on the left side. The bands were tied firmly, and not in a bow-knot.
The rule was that the dressers should wail, when they had completed their work. But in the case of an officer, as the dressing was performed by those who had served in office along with him, they, after the work was done, omitted a meal. In all cases the dressers were six.
The body cases (used before the dressing) were made - for a ruler, the upper one embroidered, and the lower one striped black and white, with seven strings on the open side; for a Great officer, the upper one dark blue, and the lower one striped black and white, with five tie-strings on the side; for a common officer, the upper one black, and the lower one red, with three tie-strings at the side. The upper case came down to the end of the hands, and the lower case was three feet long. At the smaller dressing and afterwards, they used coverlets laid on the body (instead of these cases), their size being the same as that of the cases.
When the great dressing of a ruler's body was about to commence, his son, with the sackcloth band about his cap, went to his place at the (south) end of the (eastern) corridor, while the ministers and Great officers took theirs at the corner of the hall, with the pillar on their west, their faces to the north, and their row ascending to the east. The uncles, brothers, and cousins were below the hall, with their faces to the north, The (son's) wife, and other wives whose position had been confirmed were on the west of the body, with their faces to other states the east. The female relations from the other states were in their apartments with their faces to the south. Inferior officers spread the mats. The Shang officers of prayer spread the strings, the coverlet, and clothes. The officers had their hands over the vessels. They then lifted the corpse and removed it to the place for the dressing. When the dressing was finished, the superintendent announced the fact. The son then (seemed to) lean on it, and leaped while his wife did the same, with her face to the east.
At the mourning rites of a Great officer, they were about to proceed to the great dressing, and the tie-strings, coverlets, and clothes had all been spread out, the ruler arrived, and was met by (the son), the principal mourner. The son entered before him, (and stood) at the right of the gate, outside which the exorcist stopped. The ruler having put down the vegetables (as an offering to the spirit of the gate), and the blesser entered preceding him, entered and went up to the hall. He then repaired to his place at the end of the corridor, while the ministers, and Great officers took theirs at the corner of the hall on the west of the pillar, looking to the north, their row ascending to the east. The presiding mourner was outside the apartment (where the corpse was), facing the south. His wife presiding was on the west of the body, facing the east. When they had moved the corpse, and finished the dressing, the steward reported that they had done so, and the presiding mourner went down below the hall, with his face to the north. There the ruler laid on him the soothing hand, and he bowed with his forehead, to the ground. The ruler signified to him to go up, and lean on the body, and also requested his wife, presiding, to lean on it.
At the mourning rites for a common officer, when they were about to proceed to the great dressing, the ruler was not present. In other respects the observances were the same as in the case of a Great officer.
They also leaped at the spreading out of the ties and strings; of the sheet; of the clothes; at the moving of the corpse; at the putting on of the clothes; of the coverlet; and of the adjusting of the ties and bands.
The ruler laid his hand on the body of a Great officer, and on that of the most honourable ladies of his own harem. A Great officer laid his hand on the body of the steward of his house, and on that of his niece and the sister of his wife, who had accompanied her to the harem. The ruler and a Great officer leant closely with their breasts over the bodies of their parents, wives, and eldest sons, but not over those of their other sons. A common officer, however, did so also to all his other sons. If a son by a concubine had a son, the parents did not perform this ceremony over him. When it was performed, the parents did it first, and then the wife and son. A ruler laid his hand on the body of a minister; parents, while bending over that of a son, also took hold of his hand. A son bent over his parents, bringing his breast near to theirs. A wife seemed as if she would place her two arms beneath the bodies of her parents-in-law; while they (simply) laid their hands on her. A wife made as if she would cling to her husband's body; while the husband held her hand as he did that of a brother or cousin. When others brought the breast near the body of a corpse, they avoided the point at which the ruler had touched it. After every such mark of sorrow, the mourner rose up and leaped.
At the mourning rites for a parent, (the son) occupied the slanting shed, unplastered; slept on straw, with a clod of earth for his pillow. He spoke of nothing but what related to the rites. A ruler enclosed this hut; but Great and common officers left it exposed. After the burial, the inclined posts were set up on lintels, and the hut was plastered, but not on the outside which could be seen. Rulers, Great and common officers, all had it enclosed. All the other sons, but the eldest by the proper wife, even before the burial had huts made for themselves in out-of-the-way places.
After the burial, the son would stand with others. If a ruler, he would speak of the king's affairs, but not of those of his own state. If a Great officer, or a common officer, he would speak of the ruler's affairs, but not of those of his own clan or family.
When the ruler was buried, the royal ordinances came into the state. After the wailing was finished, the new ruler engaged in the king's affairs. When a Great officer or a common officer was buried, the ordinances of the state came to his family. After the wailing was finished, while continuing the sackcloth band round his cap, and the girdle, he might don his armour and go into the field.
After the mourning was changed at the end of a year, (the sons) occupied the unplastered apartment, and did not occupy one along with others. Then the ruler consulted about the government of the state; and Great officers and common officers about the affairs of their clan and families. After the sacrifice at the end of two years, the ground of the apartment was made of a dark green, and the walls were whitened. After this, they no longer wailed outside; and after the sacrifice at the end of twenty-seven months, they did not do so inside; for, after it, music began to be heard.
After that sacrifice, at the end of twenty-seven months, (the son) attended to all his duties; and after the felicitous sacrifice (of re-arranging the tablets in his ancestral temple), he returned to his (usual) chamber. At the one year's mourning, he occupied the hut; and when it was completed, the occasions on which he did not seek the nuptial chamber were:-when his father was alive, and he had been wearing the hemmed sackcloth of a year for his mother or his wife, and when he had been wearing the cloth mourning of nine months; on these occasions, for three months he did not seek the intercourse of the inner chamber. A wife did not occupy the hut, nor sleep on the straw. At the mourning for her father or mother, when she had changed the mourning at the end of a year, she returned to her husband; when the mourning was that of nine months, she returned after the burial.
At the mourning rites for a duke (of the royal domain), his Great officers continued till the change of mourning at the end of a year, and then returned to their own residences. A common officer returned at the conclusion of the wailing.
At the mourning rites for their parents, (the other sons who were) Great officers or common officers, returned to their own residences after the change of the mourning at the end of the year; but on the first day of the month and at full moon, and on the return of the death-day, they came back and wailed in the house of him who was now the Head of their family. At the mourning for uncles and cousins, they returned to their own residences at the conclusion of the wailing.
A father did not take up his quarters (during the mourning) at a son's, nor an elder brother at a younger's.
At the mourning rites for a Great officer or his acknowledged wife, a ruler (went to see) the greater dressing; but if he wished to show special favour, he attended the slighter dressing. The ruler, in the case of an acknowledged wife, married to a Great officer of a different surname from his own, arrived after the lid was put on the coffin. He went to an officer's, when the body was put into the coffin.; but if he wanted to show special favour, he attended at the greater dressing. The ruler's wife, at the mourning for a (Great officer's) acknowledged wife, attended at the greater dressing; but if she wished to show special favour, at the slighter. In the case of his other wives, if she wished to show special favour, she attended at the greater dressing in the case of a Great officer's acknowledged wife, who was of a different surname from her own, she appeared after the coffining had taken place.
When the ruler went to a Great officer's or a common officer's, after the coffining had taken place, he sent word beforehand of his coming. The chief mourner provided all the offerings to be set down for the dead in the fullest measure, and waited outside the gate, till he saw the heads of the horses. He then led the way in by the right side of the gate. The exorcist stopped outside, and the blesser took his place, and preceded the ruler, who put down the offerings of vegetables (for the spirit of the gate) inside it. The blesser then preceded him up the eastern steps, and took his place with his back to the wall, facing the south. The ruler took his place at (thc top of) the steps; two men with spears standing before him, and two behind. The officer of reception then advanced. The chief mourner bowed, laying his forehead to the ground. The ruler then said what he had to say; looked towards the blesser and leaped. The chief mourner then (also) leaped.
If the visit were paid to a Great officer, the offerings might at this point be put down by the coffin. If it were to a common officer, he went out to wait outside the gate. Being requested to return and put down the offerings, he did so. When this was done, he preceded the ruler, and waited for him outside the gate. When the ruler retired, the chief mourner escorted him outside the gate, and bowed to him, with his forehead to the ground.
When a Great officer was ill, the ruler thrice inquired for him; and when his body was coffined, visited (his son) thrice. When a common officer was ill, he inquired for him once; and when his body was coffined, visited (his son) once. When the ruler came to condole (after the coffining), the (son) put on again the clothes he had worn at the coffining.
When the ruler's wife went lo condole at a Great officer's or a common officer's, the chief mourner went out to meet her outside the gate, and, when he saw her horses heads, went in before her by the right side of the gate. She then entered, went up to the hall, and took her place. The wife presiding went down by the steps on the west, and bowed with her head to the ground below (the hall). The ruler's wife looked towards her eldest son (who had accompanied her), and leaped. The offerings were put down according to the rules for them on the visit of the ruler. When she retired, the wife presiding went with her to the inside of the door of the apartment, and bowed to her with her head to the ground. The chief mourner escorted her to the outside of the great gate, but did not bow.
When a Great officer came to the mourning rites of one of his officers to whom he stood in the relation of ruler, the officer did not meet him outside the gate. He entered and took his place below the hall. The chief mourner (stood on the south of his place), with his face to the north, though the general rule for chief mourners was to face the south. The wife took her place in the room. If, at this juncture, there came a message from the ruler of the state, or one from a confirmed (Great) officer or his confirmed wife, or visitors from, the neighbouring states, the Great officer-ruler, having the chief mourner behind him, performed the bow of ceremony to each visitor.
When a ruler, on a visit of condolence, saw the bier for the corpse, he leaped. If a ruler had not given notice beforehand of his coining to a Great officer or a common officer, and he had not prepared the various offerings to be put down by the coffin on the occasion, when the ruler withdrew, the rule was that they should then be put down.
The largest (or outermost) coffin of the ruler of a state was eight inches thick; the next, six inches; and the innermost, four inches. The larger coffin of a Great officer of the highest grade was eight inches thick; and the inner, six inches; for one of the lowest grade, the dimensions were six inches and four. The coffin of a common officer was six inches thick. The (inner) coffin of a ruler was lined with red (silk), fixed in its place with nails of various metals; that of a Great officer with (silk of a) dark blue, fixed with nails of ox-bone; that of a common officer was lined, but had no nails. The lid of a ruler's coffin was varnished, with three double wedges (at the edges) over which were three bands; that of a Great officer's was (also) varnished, with two double wedges and two bands; that of a common officer was not varnished, but it had two double wedges and two bands.
The (accumulated) hair and nails of a ruler and Great officer were placed (in bags) at the four corners of the coffin; those of an officer were buried (without being put in the coffin). The coffin of a ruler was placed upon a bier, which was surrounded with high stakes, inclined over it till, when all was finished and plastered, there was the appearance of a house. That of a Great officer, having been covered with a pall, was placed in the did not western corridor and staked, but the plastering did not reach all over the coffin. That of a common officer was placed so that the double wedges could be seen; above that it was plastered. All were screened.
Of scorched grain there were put by the coffin of a ruler eight baskets, containing four different kinds; by that of a Great officer, six baskets, containing three kinds; by that of a common officer, four baskets, containing two kinds. Besides these, there were (dried) fish and flesh.
Ornamenting the coffin (on its way to the grave), there were for a ruler - the curtains with dragons (figured on them), and over them three gutter-Spouts; the fluttering ornaments (with pheasants figured on them and the ends of the curtains); above (on the sloping roof of the catafalque) were figures of axe-heads, of the symbol of discrimination, thrice repeated, and of flames, thrice repeated. These occupied the pall-like roof of white silk, as embroidery, and above it was the false covering attached to it by six purple ties, and rising up with ornaments in five, colours and five rows of shells. There were (at the corners) two streamers of feathers, suspended from a frame with the axes on it; two from another, bearing the symbol of discrimination; two from another, variously figured; all the frames on staffs, showing jade-symbols at the top. Fishes were made as if leaping at the ends of the gutters, The whole of the catafalque was kept together by six supports rising from the coffin, and wound round with purple silk, and six sustaining ropes, also purple, (drawn through the curtains).
For the catafalque of a Great officer there were painted curtains, with two gutter-spouts (above them); there were not the fluttering ornaments; above (on the sloping roof) there were flames painted, thrice repeated; and three symbols of discrimination, These formed the pall-like roof, and there were two purple ties, and two of deep blue. At the very top there were ornaments in three colours, and three rows of shells. There were two feather-streamers from a frame with axes, and two from a painted frame; all the frames on staffs with plumage at the tops. Figures of fishes were made at the ends of the gutters. The front supports of a Great officer's catafalque were purple, and those behind deep blue. So also were the sustaining ropes.
For the catafalque of a common officer, the curtains were of (plain) linen, and there was the sloping roof. There was (but) one gutter-spout. There were the fluttering pheasants on the bands. The purple ties were two, and the black also two. At the very top the ornaments were of three colours, and there was only one row of shells. The streamers of feathers from a painted frame were two, the staffs of which had plumage at their tops. The front supports of the catafalque were purple, and those behind black. The sustaining ropes were purple.
In burying the coffin of a ruler, they used a bier, four ropes, and two pillars. Those guiding the course of the coffin carried the shade with pendent feathers. In burying a Great officer, they used two ropes and two pillars. Those who guided the coffin used a reed of white grass. In burying a common officer, they used a carriage of the state. They employed two ropes and no post. As soon as they left the residence, those who directed the coffin used the shade of merit.
In letting down the coffin into the grave, they removed the ropes from the posts, and pulled at them with their. backs to the posts. For a ruler's coffin, they also used levers, and for a Great officer's or a common officer's, ropes attached to the sides of the coffin. Orders were given that they should not cry out in letting down that of the ruler. They let it down as guided by the sound of a drum. in letting down a Great officer's, they were commanded not to wail. In letting down a common officer's, those who began to wail stopped one another.
The outer shell of the coffin of a ruler was of pine; of a Great officer, of cypress; of another officer, of various kinds of wood. The surface between the coffin and shell of a ruler was sufficient to contain a music stopper; in the case of the coffin and shell of a Great officer, a vase for water; in that of the coffin and shell of a common officer, a jar of liquor. In the rites of a ruler, the shell was lined, and there were baskets of yu; in those of a Great officer, the shell was not lined; in those of a common officer, there were no baskets of yu.
Source: Chinese Text Project http://ctext.org/liji. English translation "Sacred Books of the East, volume 28, part 4: The Li Ki", James Legge, 1885
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