The Thai Buddhist Funerary Practice of the Lang Pa Cha

cannibals19

The photos were taken on 13 March 2009 at a cemetery in a southwestern province of Thailand (Prachaub Khiri Khan Province).

For Buddhists in Thailand, the burial of the deceased is not as widely-practiced as cremation. Buddhists are normally buried rather than cremated when they have no relatives, or when their relatives cannot afford to pay for the cremation.

cannibals03

Cemeteries in rural provinces in Thailand often run out of space as a result of too many bodies being buried in limited amount of land.

So the Buddhists in Thailand practice a religious tradition called “Lang Pa Cha” (which means “the cleaning and tidying of the cemetery”), where volunteers will dig up bodies that were unclaimed by any relatives and cremate them to honour their spirits in accordance with the Buddhist religious rites. Such a ritual is considered to be a good deed and a merit-making process.

cannibals10

At every “Lang Pa Cha” religious ritual, a large number of unclaimed bodies is always found. (In the case of the photos taken here, 64 unclaimed bodies were found).

To cremate a whole body takes a long time, so only the bones of the unclaimed bodies are cremated. Thus the reason for the dissection of the flesh from the bodies as you have seen in the photos.

cannibals14

The volunteers in this ritual are mostly medical staff or emergency response crews who are the first unit to arrive at accident scenes to save lives (easily identifiable by their blue-and-white uniforms and ID cards).

They are used to seeing dead bodies, and that is why they look nonchalant in the photos.

cannibals18

This was originally circulated as a “cannibal rite”, something Snopes ably disproved, but the reality of what it actually was was too interesting not to do a post on it.

Quoted text via the Royal Thai Embassy in inquiry with Snopes.

The Giant Dead Parrot

Giant_dead_parrot_unveiled_in_London_to_pay_tribute_to_Monty_Python

A 50 foot fibreglass bird was hung upside down by a crane at London’s Potters Fields to mark the TV screening of Monty Python’s live show.

The world famous dead parrot sketch, in which John Cleese attempts to return a deceased “Norwegian Blue” parrot to a pet shop, features in the current Monty Python Live (mostly) farewell show.

Via RadioTimes.

The Oldest Known Illustration of Circumcision in 2400 B.C.

M0005235 Egypt, wall carving showing a circumcision scene, Sakkara

The origins of circumcision remain unclear, [but by] 4,000 B.C.E., exhumed Egyptian bodies show signs of circumcision.

[T]hen come the artistic depictions.

The Sakkara depiction comes with the perhaps helpful written warning, “Hold him and do not allow him to faint”.

The original bas-relief above has been recreated and colorized below:

Circumcision_Sakkara_3

Via Open Culture.

The Ancient Greek Military Technology of the Linothorax

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 2.15.27 PM

[I]n ancient Greece, they thought they were cutting edge when they had developed the linothorax. [The] shirt-skirt is a linothorax. But the linothorax wasn’t a fashion statement — it was a suit of armor.

Few remains have been found at historic sites. But they are mentioned in texts — and we can see them on vases and paintings.

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 2.15.13 PM

University of Wisconsin Green Bay Professor Gregory Aldrete and a group of his students used these drawings and ancient texts to make versions of the linothorax, and research why they were effective.

Aldrete and his team discovered that linothoraxes are made using several layers of linen and rabbit glue. They had to get their hands on linen that was hand-woven and hand-sewn but also grown and harvested by traditional methods. That meant they had to grow their own linen. Which they did.

linothorax const

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 2.15.00 PM

Aldrete says the idea of using layers of linen (or any material) and gluing them together to create a tough, resistant material has been used for centuries.

And it’s still used today. Some of the bullet-proof vests used by armies and police forces around the world have been created using similar concept.

mace

linothorax.arrow1

The verdict?

They were light-weight, flexible…and pretty much safe from any kind of arrows in use at the time.

The UWGB Linothorax Project via PRI.org.

Daymares

slide_357634_3955647_free

[P]hotographer Arthur Tress, who, in the late 1960s and early ’70s, asked children to describe their fantasies and nightmares, then immortalizing them in staged photographs.

Tress was recruited to do a workshop with child educator Richard Lewis. “Every year he has a different theme,” Tress explained to Gothamist, “and one year he did children’s dreams, to get kids to write poems and paintings from their dreams. So he called me in to photograph his class. I was looking for mythological, archetypical, kind of nightmarish images.”

slide_357634_3955642_free

slide_357634_3955648_free

o-SING-570

slide_357634_3955635_free

slide_357634_3955646_free

Artist Arthur Tress via Huffington Post.