Lampang-style Funeral Pavilion
A funeral pavilion is used by the Lanna people to house the body of the deceased, which goes into the funeral pyre set up on the temple’s crematory ground or at the edge of the jungle. In the past the pavilion was crafted in the form of a Hastiling (a mythical bird–halfelephant, half-bird) for the ecclesiastical persons and the ruling class. The principal production centre is in Chiang Rai, Phayao, and Lampang provinces.
Funeral pavilion uses soft wood, such as the wood from cotton tree or wild water plum tree, for its structural framework, which is decorated with papier-mâché and perforated coloured paper. Sometimes, silver and golden papers as well as lace curtains are added to the decorations.
In creating a funeral pavilion, the works involved are divided between the men and the women. The men are usually responsible for the wooden framework structure and setting up the body of the deceased inside the pavilion, while the women are responsible for the decorative work such as fixing the papier-mâché.
The Lampang-style funeral pavilion reflects the traditional values and customs. It shows the homage paid to the deceased and the wish to send his or her spirit to heaven. The funeral rite involves the processional cortège from home to the funeral site, the burning of the funeral pyre by using beautiful fireworks to start the fire–these beautiful rituals help comfort the bereaved to a certain degree. The meanings of the rituals are implicitly communicated to those who are present at the ceremony. The burning down of the beautifully-crafted pavilion implies the impermanence of all things, which is the ultimate truth in Buddhism.
Today, folded chairs made of wood or PVC serve as the framework structure of a funeral pavilion. A funeral pavilion is no longer burned in the funeral pyre. After the body of the deceased is burned, the chairs are donated to the temple.