Bo People Hanging Coffin of Doushaguan in Yanjin County, Zhaotong

About the Bo People

The Bo People were a minority tribe that once inhabited the border between today’s southern Sichuan and northwestern Yunnan province, for their earliest home was an infestation of thorns and tigers and wolves. They went through all kinds of hardships to explore the wilderness and build their homes and were praised as the one who broke open a way through brambles and thorns. The Chinese character 棘(Ji), means brambles and thorns. So they add another Chinese character 人(Ren), which means people under the 棘. Thus it became 僰(Bo). When the Bo people died, they were neither buried nor cremated, but placed in coffins on the cliffs. In the mind of the Bo people, the spirits of the dead should live forever in the hearts of the posterity. The longer the forebears’ remains are preserved, the better they can sustain the prosperity of their descendants. Therefore, hanging coffin burial is a symbol of auspiciousness.

The Bo disappeared during the latter part of the Ming Dynasty, persecuted to extinction through military expeditions mounted by the Central Court. Some remnants of the tribe are believed to have infiltrated into other local tribes and may have survived secretly until today.

About the Hanging Coffin of Bo People

Bo People Hanging Coffin of Doushaguan in Yanjin County, Zhaotong

Through archaeological dating tests, the hanging coffins of Doushaguan belongs to Ming dynasty.The hanging coffins is located on the cliff at the south bank of Guanhe river(关河), Shimen village, Dousha town, Yanjin county, next to national highway 213. A stone crevice in the shape of “一”,  was inlaid in the middle of the stone wall. The stone walls, which are four or five hundred metres high and more than a kilometre wide, are grey and black, all intact. 

Hanging Coffins of Doushaguan, are the most preserved, the most intact ones located in the most precipitous place, known as the hanging coffin museum of “ancient remains, the world’s wonder”. In the 1930s, there were more than 40 hanging coffins, and since then, many of them have been destroyed by the curious and malicious. Now only about 10 hanging coffins stands here. The coffin was hollowed out with whole logs, about 2 meters long, 50 centimeters high, 41 centimeters wide, and the coffin lid was about 41 centimeters thick.