Dying is a social as well as physiological phenomenon. Each society characterizes and, consequently, treats death and dying in its own individual ways—ways that differ markedly. These particular patterns of death and dying engender modal cultural responses, and such institutionalized behavior has familiar, economical, educational, religious, and political implications. The Handbook of Death and Dying takes stock of the vast literature in the field.
Chapter 52: A Social History of Embalming
A Social History of Embalming
Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead, and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals.
What is Embalming?
Embalming, simply stated, is the preservation of the dead human body. This can be accomplished by one of two means. The first is a natural means; no human intervention has taken place. Freezing, dry cold, dry heat, and natural soil compositions can create natural embalming. Bodies preserved through freezing have been found in glaciers and ice-capped mountains. There is a morgue on the top of St. Bernard Mountain in Switzerland that has created the dry cold ...