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Spirit Brides

photo by DKJ

Two spirit brides, made of paper and cloth and wearing jewelry, represent girls who died in childhood. They await the arrival of their living groom, a man named Dàtóu, before their father's family altar.

The brides were deceased sisters of Dàtóu's wife, and her bouts of illness were attributed to them, both distressed because, having died early, they were unmarried. They envied their living sister her marriage to Dàtóu, of course, but the real cause of their distress was that, being unwed, they could not have children filiated to them in this patrilineal society.