• Xiaoqun Wu


We find that although the rites of mourning share some basic similarities in terms of both procedures and functions, there are differences between these two ancient societies. In Greece, mourning remained mainly on the level of divinely ordained or external forms and procedures, but was not used to facilitate the expression of philosophical thoughts without involving the social order. In the Chinese case, the Confucians of the Pre-Qin period used rituals as a tool to explain their thoughts about how to organize a community. For them, the ritualized procedures were certainly important, but there was something more profound underlying the ritual. Confucians have integrated funeral with the Confucian values of filial piety and the concept of kinship, which have had a profound impact on subsequent Chinese civilization.


The ‘privilege’ of the dead ‘Filial piety’ (孝) The Confucians 


  1. Alexiou, Margaret. 2002. The Ritual Lament in Greek Tradition. Revised. Dimitrios Yatromanolakis and Panagiotis Roilos, 2nd ed. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
  2. Chang, K. C. 1983. Art, Myth, and Ritual: The Path to Political Authority in Ancient China. Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Chen, Lai 陈来. 2002. The World of Ancient Ideology and Culture—Religion, Ethics and Social Thoughts in the Spring-Autumn Period 古代思想文化的世界—春秋时代的宗教、伦理与社会思想. Beijing: San-Lian Publishing House 三联书店.Google Scholar
  4. Chien, Xuan 钱玄. 1996. Study on Three Books of Rites 三礼通论. Nanjing Normal University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Collins, Randall. 2004. Interaction Ritual Chains. Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Fingarette, Herbert. 1972. Confucius: The Secular as Sacred, New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  7. Gong, Duan-Li 龚端礼. 1996. Illustration of Wu-Fu 五服图解. Shanghai Ancient Documents Press上海古籍出版社.Google Scholar
  8. Holzman, Donald. 1998. The Place of Filial Piety in Ancient China. Journal of the American Oriental Society 118: 185–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kurtz, Donna C. and Boardman, John. 1971. Greek Burial Customs. Thames and Hudson.Google Scholar
  10. Nagy, Gregory. 2010. Ancient Greek Elegy. Ed. Karen Weisman. The Oxford Handbook of Elegy. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Pocock, J. G. A. 1989. Politics, Language, and Time: Essays on Political Thought and History. The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  12. Schwartz, Benjamin I. 1985. The World of Thought in Ancient China. Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Weber, Max. 1951. The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism. Trans. and ed. by Hans H. Gerth. The Free Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoqun Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.Fudan UniversityShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations