Chinese Morticians Use 3-D Printing Technology To Beautify The Dead

A Chinese funeral home is now using 3-D printing technology to restore the bodies of the dead. This may sound strange to some, but every culture is different. Some families have closed-casket funerals while others choose open. There are times when closed is the only option due to the condition of the body. Chinese morticians are now giving the loved ones of the deceased the hope of seeing their family members looking like themselves.

Longhua Funeral Parlor, located in Shanghai, is using 3-D printed body parts for restorative work on bodies that have been damaged, resulting in a more attractive appearance for the corpse, per Liu Fengming, an expert with the Shanghai Funeral and Interment Service Center, noted UPI.

“It is difficult for relatives to see incomplete faces or bodies of their loved ones when they attend memorial services, and makeup cannot always sufficiently repair them.”

According to Liu, 3-D printing technology has about a 95 percent success rate, UPI also reported.

The Center was asked for its expertise after an explosion at Tianjin Port in August 2015 to help repair the faces of firefighters who lost their lives in the blast. When thinking about a disaster such as this and a traditional funeral, it’s clear how restorative services would be necessary.

Liu added that the 3-D printing technology can make the deceased look more attractive and younger-looking than they once did, and a partial restoration costs less than 10,000 yuan ($1,542), per Digital Trends. Longhua’s method includes layering the 3-D printed materials to create a three-dimensional replica of the damaged body part. The funeral home also adds makeup and even hair transplants as part of the process.

While hair transplants may sound unusual, most people who attend an open casket funeral comment on the appearance of the deceased. When the body looks much like the person did when they were alive, with the exception of closed eyes and the appearance of sleeping, it is then when families later recommend the services of the mortician to others. A lifelike, sleeping version of the decedent is the ultimate goal.

Mending damaged bodies is not unheard of in the United States. The Chinese methods have included sludge or wax, but Liu said while these methods can recreate facial structure, they cannot replicate hair and skin texture.

Chinese formal funeral ceremonies include a wake, which may be held at the home of the family, a temple, or a funeral home. Guests are sent an invitation and if the deceased is under 80 years of age, it is white, but if over age 80, it is pink. Special honor is paid to those who live beyond 80 years, and the color pink indicates that their lives should be celebrated.

Guests must wear dark colors because bright ones, especially the color red, are symbolic of happiness. The deceased is dressed in a white robe as white is symbolic of death in Chinese culture. White irises are the traditional funeral flowers, and white envelopes with money tucked inside are the offering that guests bring. This money is used to take care of the deceased’s family.

After the funeral, a formal procession is held, and the size depends upon the wealth and status of the deceased. If there are not enough people to make a procession, professional mourners may be hired. Based on preference, Chinese individuals may be cremated or buried.

[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]