A black paper shirt

This paper shirt is burnt as an offering to a male ancestor or deceased.Burnt offerings are integral to Taoist worship and rituals. Offerings are burnt as gifts during temple festivals to commemorate the birthdays of deities. At Taoist funerals and religious ceremonies, burnt offerings are made to ensure that the deceased, or an ancestor, enjoys a comfortable life in the netherworld. The articles burnt as offerings are made from paper and are often imitations of real objects. They can be purchased from shops dedicated to selling these religious paraphernalia, which are referred to locally as “paper shops”. These shops sell a wide range of items, from elaborately decorated paper houses, cars and furniture, to bank notes and garments. The paper garments are usually life-size and the more elaborate ones follow the iconographic conventions of opera costumes closely. Chinese operas are performed as part of Taoist religious festivities.

c. 1930s-1950s
Object size: 69.6 x 85.7 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
National Museum of Singapore
Theatre Artefacts

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