Reporters with China News recently documented a day in the life of 23-year-old Liu Li, the youngest embalmer at a Liuzhou funeral home.
Liu has been working as an embalmer since he graduated from the Changsha Social Work College in Hunan province in 2013.
On March 31, the funeral home’s five embalmers arrived at 8:30 a.m. to begin work. They had 23 dead bodies to embalm.
Along with the other embalmers, Liu moves the dead bodies out of the freezer to check their identity. Afterwards, he dresses them, applies makeup to their faces and transfers the bodies to the farewell hall.
Liu and his colleague apply makeup to one of the bodies.
“Many people consider getting along with us embalmers a taboo,” said Liu, “But I’ve never considered changing my job.”
“I love my job. I’m very patient and meticulous when dressing them and applying makeup,” he said. “I hope I can help the dead leave the world with more ease and dignity.”
As much as Liu likes his job, he also likes to keep a low profile, and asked photographers not to include his face in any of the pictures.
Liu checks the identity of one of the deceased.
“It’s a traditional Chinese belief that anything related to death is inauspicious. That’s why I rarely visit my relatives and friends when I am free,” said Liu. “I don’t want people to think that I bring bad luck to them when I visit them.”
According to Liu’s manager, Liu doesn’t want many other people knowing what he does because it may be difficult for a male embalmer to seek a wife, despite Liu’s described handsome looks.
Liu moves a dead body to the farewell hall.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via NetEase]