"The fancy urn"


Charles Eugene Gail
Geri Gail
Photographer’s Note: “Upon the edge of the womb-shaped tomb is a fancy urn in which the bones are placed, 2, 4 or 5 years after interment. The young daughters clean the bones and put them in the urn, then place the Urn back on the altar shelf in the back of the tomb. This fairly distasteful job has made modern cremation more popular here.”

There are about three commonly found types of funeral urns on Okinawa. This highly-decorated, square box urn, the curved, cylindrical urn as shown in another print, and a very plain square urn. The last urn is reserved for the bones of dead children. The decorations on the square urn and cylindrical urn changed with time, becoming more elaborate as time passed, in contrast to the evolution of the turtleback tombs, which have become much more simple and house-shaped.

(Labelled by Nirupama Chandrasekhar, Cowell ‘20)
Archivist's Notes
Charles Gail Collection
ms0470_pho_1-08a copy
ms0470_pho_1-08b copy



Charles Eugene Gail, “"The fancy urn",” The Gail Project, accessed July 12, 2020, https://gailproject.ucsc.edu/items/show/19.


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