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Burning Hope

Ei Jia Sng

Singapore University of Technology and Design

The afterlife has always been an unanswered question. Hence, religions and practices are created to assure the living of the unknown. One of the traditions passed down by the Chinese was the burning of paper offerings on special occasions such as funerals, Qingming and Hungry Ghost festivals. The role of the practice was to help the living to fulfill their filial duties by offering material goods that would aid their ancestors in living a comfortable life in the spirit world.
In recent years, paper offerings with modern designs that reflect the current societal goods appear in the market and the public took interest in their unique designs. However, certain paper effigies design and the crafting techniques remain traditional.
The main aim of the research was to create new techniques and designs that mediates the modern and traditional form.
The research starts by understanding the role of the tradition in the context of Singapore through surveys and interviews with the respective stakeholders. Additionally, investigations on the dying traditional craft was documented by an apprenticeship with local craftsmen to understand the techniques that created the classical designs.

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