A COFFIN is a funerary box used for viewing or keeping a corpse , either for burial or cremation .
The word took two different paths, COFIN in
* 1 Etymology * 2 History * 3 Practices
* 4 Design
* 4.1 Design coffins in
* 5 Cremation * 6 Industry * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Bibliography * 10 External links
The side of an Ancient Egyptian sarcophagus
First attested in English in 1380, the word coffin derives from the
Any box in which the dead are buried is a coffin, and while a casket was originally regarded as a box for jewelry, use of the word "casket" in this sense began as a euphemism introduced by the undertaker 's trade. A distinction is commonly drawn between "coffins" and "caskets", using coffin to refer to a tapered hexagonal or octagonal (also considered to be anthropoidal in shape) box and casket to refer to a rectangular box, often with a split lid used for viewing the deceased as seen in the picture. Receptacles for cremated and cremulated human ashes (sometimes called cremains ) are called urns .
The earliest evidence of wooden coffin remains, dated at 5000 BC, was
found in the
Plain bespoke stone coffin, circa 7th century
A coffin may be buried in the ground directly, placed in a burial
vault or cremated. Alternatively it may be entombed above ground in a
mausoleum , a chapel , a church , or in a loculus in catacombs . Some
countries practice one form almost exclusively, whereas in others it
may depend on the individual cemetery . A Karo coffin in Northern
In part of
The handles and other ornaments (such as doves, stipple crosses, crucifix , symbols etc.) that go on the outside of a coffin are called fittings (sometimes called 'coffin furniture' - not to be confused with furniture that is coffin shaped) while organising the inside of the coffin with fabric of some kind is known as "trimming the coffin".
Cultures that practice burial have widely different styles of coffin.
Judaism , the coffin must be plain, made of wood and contain no
metal parts or adornments. These coffins use wooden pegs instead of
nails. All Jews are buried in the same plain cloth shroud from
shoulder to knees, regardless of status in life, gender or age. In
Sometimes coffins are constructed to permanently display the corpse,
as in the case of the glass-covered coffin of the
When a coffin is used to transport a deceased person, it can also be called a pall , a term that also refers to the cloth used to cover the coffin.
The glass-covered coffin of the
Coffins are traditionally made with six sides plus the top (lid) and bottom, tapered around the shoulders, or rectangular with four sides. Another form of four-sided coffin is trapezoidal (also known as the "wedge" form) and is considered a variant of the six-sided hexagonal kind of coffin. Continental Europe at one time favoured the rectangular coffin or casket, although variations exist in size and shape. The rectangular form, and also the trapezoidal form, is still regularly used in Germany, Austria, Hungary and other parts of Eastern and Central Europe, with the lid sometimes made to slope gently from the head down towards the foot. Coffins in the UK are mainly similar to the hexagonal design, but with one-piece sides, curved at the shoulder instead of having a join. In Medieval Japan, round coffins were used, which resembled barrels in shape and were usually made by coopers . In the case of a death at sea, there have been instances where trunks have been pressed into use as a coffin. Coffins usually have handles on the side so they will be easier to carry.
They may incorporate features that claim to protect the body or for public health reasons. For example, some may offer a protective casket that uses a gasket to seal the casket shut after it is closed for the final time. In England, it has long been law that a coffin for interment above ground should be sealed; this was traditionally implemented as a wooden outer coffin around a lead lining, around a third inner shell. After some decades have passed, the lead may ripple and tear. In the United States, numerous cemeteries require a vault of some kind in order to bury the deceased. A burial vault serves as an outer enclosure for buried remains and the coffin serves as an inner enclosure. The primary purpose of the vault is to prevent collapse of the coffin due to the weight of the soil above.
Some manufacturers offer a warranty on the structural integrity of the coffin. However, no coffin, regardless of its construction material (e.g., metal rather than wood), whether or not it is sealed, and whether or not the deceased was embalmed beforehand, will perfectly preserve the body. In some cases, a sealed coffin may actually speed up rather than slow down the process of decomposition. An airtight coffin, for example, fosters decomposition by anaerobic bacteria , which results in a putrefied liquefaction of the body, and all putrefied tissue remains inside the container, only to be exposed in the event of an exhumation. A container that allows air to pass in and out, such as a simple wooden box, allows for clean skeletonization . However the situation will vary according to soil or air conditions, and climate.
Coffins are made of many materials, including steel, various types of wood, and other materials such as fiberglass or recycled kraft paper. There is emerging interest in eco-friendly coffins made of purely natural materials such as bamboo , X-Board , willow or banana leaf.
Custom coffins are occasionally created and some companies also make
set ranges with non-traditional designs. These include printing or
painting of peaceful tropical scenes, sea-shells, sunsets, cherubs and
patriotic flags. Some manufacturers have designed them to look like
gym carry bags, guitar cases, cigar humidors, and even yellow dumpster
bins. Other coffins are left deliberately blank so that friends and
family can inscribe final wishes and thoughts upon them to the
Xanita has developed a new grade of environmentally-friendly coffin board which is designed to cleanly incinerate using around half the gas needed to incinerate traditional veneered MDF coffins. This assists Crematoriums meet their CO2 emissions targets.
DESIGN COFFINS IN GHANA
Design coffins in
With the resurgence of cremation in the
Some choose to use a coffin made of wood or other materials like particle board or low-density fibreboard. Others will rent a regular casket for the duration of the services. These caskets have a removable bed and liner which is replaced after each use. There are also rental caskets with an outer shell that looks like a traditional coffin and a cardboard box that fits inside the shell. At the end of the services the inner box is removed and the deceased is cremated inside this box.
Wicker coffins are increasingly being used as a final vessel for cremation, known to incinerate cleanly, with minimal emissions. The design of the wicker coffin is a significant factor during cremation as several strict rules have to be adhered to .
A coffin shop in
Traditionally, in the Western world, a coffin was made, when required, by the village carpenter , and he would frequently manage the whole funeral. The design and workmanship would reflect the skills of that individual carpenter, with the materials and brasses being the materials that were available at the time. In past centuries, if a pauper\'s funeral was paid for by the parish , the coffin might have been made of the cheapest, thinnest possible pine . At the other extreme, a coffin bought privately by a wealthy individual might have used yew or mahogany with a fine lining, plated fittings and brass decorations, topped with a decorated velvet drape.
In modern times coffins are almost always mass-produced. Some manufacturers do not sell directly to the public, and only work with funeral homes. In that case, the funeral director usually sells the casket to a family for a deceased person as part of the funeral services offered, and in that case the price of the casket is included in the total bill for services rendered. Some funeral homes will have a small showroom to present families with the available caskets that could be used for a deceased family member. In many modern funeral homes the showroom will consist of sample pieces that show the end pieces of each type of coffin that can be used. They also include samples of the lining and other materials. This allows funeral homes to showcase a larger number of coffin styles without the need for a larger showroom. Other types may be available from a catalogue, including decorative paint effects or printed photographs or patterns.
Under a United States federal regulation, 16 CFR Part 453 (known as
Wikimedia Commons has media related to COFFINS .
* ^ See also berceau, couffin and cophinus at
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* ^ Mattioli, Dana (Feb 24, 2010). "Casket Makers Dig In as Sales Take Hit". The Wall Street Journal. * ^ Lewis, Charlton T.; Short, Charles. "cophinus". A Latin Dictionary. Perseus Digital Library. * ^ Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert. "κόφινος". A Greek-English Lexicon. P