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"3 in 1" - Funerary Art

Photo Information
Copyright: John Cannon (tyro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 207 W: 93 N: 875] (4422)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2001-11
Categories: Daily Life, Architecture, Artwork, Event, Decisive Moment
Camera: Olympus OM-1n
Map: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Friday Theme 2008/07/04 "3in1" [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-07-03 18:27
Viewed: 3477
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
My submission for Helen's "3 in 1" theme might be a bit unusual, but I thought it might be of interest to people out there as it depicts something rather different. I hope it will not offend.

These pictures were taken of a Malagasy burial site, or, more accurately, of a tomb of the Mahafaly people in west Madagascar. In the lower part of this collage, you can see the full tomb, which consists of a central pile of stones, surrounded by wooden steles or "aloalos", arranged in rectangular fashion about it.

The aloalos are decorated and inscribed and the six pillars of the structure are surmounted by carvings, some depicting animals and birds, but the other three depicting human couples in, shall we say, romantic encounters. These are shown in the three pictures at the top.

Various types of "funerary art" exist in Madagascar as well as many different types of ceremony at the time of burial and after. In some parts, "famadihana" ceremonies take place among Madagascar's Merino and Betsileo people. The corpses of the razana (ancestors) are removed from their tombs, cleaned and wrapped in a new shroud before becoming guests of honour at a party that may last several days. This, it is hoped, will keep the powerful ancestors happy so that they will intervene positively in the earthly life of the family.

These cultures might seem strange to us, but perhaps these people have a more positive attitude to death than we so-called "civilised" people.

These pictures were shot on poor-quality 35mm negative film but I thought them worth showing, if only for their cultural, rather than photographic, interest.

All comments/critiques/advice welcome!

chocolate29, graffer, y2kosan, celan_mario, eosnut has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To eosnut: Feeding an inferiority complex?tyro 1 07-08 01:30
To celan_mario: Thank you, Mario!tyro 1 07-05 16:40
To Helkoryo: Cultures, ideals and customs.........tyro 1 07-05 16:38
To y2kosan: Thank you, Sani!tyro 1 07-05 04:17
To lrw1966: In good taste?tyro 1 07-04 04:30
To glint: How broadminded you are!tyro 1 07-04 02:33
To graffer: A bit different...........tyro 1 07-04 02:21
To chocolate29: Death and cheap film..........tyro 1 07-04 00:29
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Critiques [Translate]

Thank you for this interesting contribution, John! Sculptures need to be looked at from various angles, so this is a good motif for this Friday's theme "3in1". The scan turned out well. Some sections in the image below are overexposed.
Both image and note are very informative. I tend to agree with your opinion re the comparison of attitudes towards death between many indigenous peoples and us.
Have a good weekend!
Cordelia :))

Hello John,

Not sure how long this will stay here on TL once the moderators get out their magnifying glasses, so I'd better get my critique in quickly!

Obviously the locals decided they were going to have a good old time in Paradise.

Considering the poor quality of the film, these images have come out very well in your scans.

A fine assembly of the various components - their placement on the BG is well thought out.

Well done!



  • Great 
  • glint Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 593 W: 3 N: 545] (3785)
  • [2008-07-04 1:54]
  • [+]

Ooooh you are awful!
Having not thought much about my own demise, I may set to thinking about something like this. Why not? as I hate the Victorian style funerals. Whenever I see some a-top hatted funeral director , stepping slowing before a coffin I want to cringe. No black plumed funerary horses for me.Stick me in cardboard coffin in some lovely spot with a nice couple statue like these; carved with my own and my husband's features of course.

John Hi;
This is extremely interesting - very well composed and presented for the Theme. Excellent educaitonal note, thanks.
Congratulations, very well done.

looking at the photos alone may be cause a deletion from the theme, but with the supporting and very well noted information - i would guess not. nevertheless, this is well organized and well compose. kudoS. y2koSan

Hi John,
The images by itself are not offensive and in the other hand, your note is very clear, its refer an cultural expression. About the images, the three close ups are good, the composition, the exposure and the POV are ok, and the full tumb let us understand the motive.
It is really interesting contribution to the theme.


Hello John

Well this image is quite an eye opener, I dont mean froma sexual POV but from the fact that we can learn so much about other cultures and ideals. Thats one of the really great things about this site in my opinion.

4 well shot images from varied POV giving a nice overall compo with neatly balanced framing too.

TFS and for joining in the theme

kindr regards Helen

Hi John,
Risque art, not a bad way to go I would say;)
Reminds me of some well endowed statues we saw in Greece once.
Thankyou for the interesting note too.

A good study of a non western culture. A good presentation style (although I'm not enamoured by the brown backing colour!) and some superb details. If anyone is offended by this then perhaps their horizons need to open up more!
Thanks for sharing

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