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“The Grand Ritual of Sending a Boat”
1media/Da song chuan_thumb.jpg2020-09-25T14:35:56-04:00Weiting Guo08b125beef921c47ad1de3c337b8d14abd2713ab357“The Grand Ritual of Sending a Boat,” from Wu Youru 吳友如 (Wu Jiayou 吳嘉猷) , Wu Youru huabao 吳友如畫寶 [Collection of Wu Youru's Art Treasures] (Shanghai: publisher not identified, 1909), Shanghai wen rui lou shi yin ben, di shi ji, xia. Source: Library of Congress, call number: H585.91 W94.1.plain2021-08-11T10:47:22-04:001909Wu Youru 吳友如 (Wu Jiayou 吳嘉猷) , Wu Youru huabao 吳友如畫寶 [Collection of Wu Youru's Art Treasures] (Shanghai: publisher not identified, 1909), Shanghai wen rui lou shi yin ben, di shi ji, xia. Source: Library of Congress, call number: H585.91 W94.1.Public domain.Weiting GuoWG-0040Weiting Guo08b125beef921c47ad1de3c337b8d14abd2713ab
12020-09-16T09:18:05-04:00Burning the Boat18plain2021-09-29T13:06:22-04:0027.9994, 120.6668Wenzhou1909Weiting GuoWu Youru huabao: Fengsu zhi tushuo
The Wu Youru huabao: Fengsu zhi tushuo (1909) has an illustration of the ritual for “sending off a boat” in late Qing Wenzhou. This drawing, titled “The Grand Ritual of Sending a Boat” provides some details about the ritual. According to the description, the plague continued to strike Wenzhou during the autumn. Therefore, local elites and officials built a dedicated “water and land ritual site” (shuilu daochang) to invite deities for the ceremony. Twenty to thirty civilian and military officials attended the ceremony, which lasted for seven days and nights. People built a large paper boat and four smaller boats alongside it. Plenty of well-decorated items were stored in the boats. On the final night, between 9 and 11 pm, these boats were sent to the river outside the Northern Gate and burned on the water. Over 1,000 people gathered there and were holding lighted lanterns, making the night as bright as the daytime. After the boats were completely burned, the lanterns were also extinguished. People walked in the dark to the Western Gate, entered the city, and then left. The entire ceremony cost between 2,000 to 3,000 dollars, all of which was mainly obtained by donations from officials, shops, and wealthy families.