Mourners’ Gestures and Behaviors

  • Xiaoqun Wu


In this chapter, the author compares mourners’ gestures and behaviors in ancient Greece and ancient China. The gestures and behaviors of mourners form important aspects of ritualized mourning. We can find a series of ritualized actions for mourners in ancient Greece. There were no specific requirements for mourners’ gestures in ancient China. ‘Beating the breast and stamping the feet’ (捶胸顿足) were expressions of the greatest pain for the Chinese.


Mourners’ gestures Prosthesis Beating the breast and stamping the feet 


  1. Ahlberg-Cornell, Gudrun. 1971. Prothesis and Ekphora in Greek Geometric Art. Göteborg: P. Åström.Google Scholar
  2. Boardman, J. 1955. Painted Funerary Plaques and Some Remarks on Prothesis. ABSA, 50: 51–66.Google Scholar
  3. Cohen, B. ed. 2000. Not the Classical Ideal: Athens and the Construction of the Other in Greek Art. Leiden.Google Scholar
  4. Fögen, Thorsten, ed. 2009. Tears in the Graeco-Roman World. Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  5. Humphreys, S. C. 1980. Family Tombs and Tomb Cult in Ancient Athens: Tradition or Traditionalism? The Journal of Hellenic Studies 100 (Centenary Issue): 96–126.Google Scholar
  6. Kurtz, D. C. 1985. Vases for the Dead: An Attic Selection, 750–400 B.C. Ed. H.A.G. Brijder. Ancient Greek and Related Pottery. Amsterdam, 314–328.Google Scholar
  7. Shapiro, H. A. 1991. The Iconography of Mourning in Athenian Art. American Journal of Archaeology 95 (4): 629–656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoqun Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.Fudan UniversityShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations