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Celebrating a Loved One's Life With Asian Cremation Urns

by Larissa Breedlove


East Asian attitudes about life’s final cycle often reflect nature’s existential and timeless mysteries. In contrast to the ancient techniques of symbolic expressions, the popularity of cremation has only recently grown in Chinese culture. In 2016 The Telegraph reported that the cremation rate reached 49.5 percent in China in 2012, up from 33.7 in 1996. As more East Asians accept the concept of cremation, their ancient symbolism is expressed in various forms offering comfort and meaning. Many flowers, animals, numbers, and linguistic characters contain delicate subtext. Specific symbols adorn Chinese-inspired cremation urns.

Cremation urns featuring the double happiness symbol

The double happiness character symbolizes eternal love. Its verbal equivalent is “joy” or “happiness.” The repetition of the character means, literally, “double happiness.” These symbols are often used in marriage festivities, appearing on wedding invitations and decorative lanterns.

They can also be used to celebrate life, and to honor a shared eternal love. This ceramic cremation urn features floral accents surrounding the double happiness symbol. Hand-decorated with nature-inspired flora, the urn offers the option of adding an engravable, personalized pedant. The double happiness character is also highlighted on a bell-shaped porcelain urn. Its stately form signifies a spirit of honor. Smaller and more compact, the Celebration of Life Dynasty Ceramic Urn’s shape is evocative of the circle of life. With their intricate blue designs and double happiness symbols, each of these Chinese urns provide everlasting tribute to a loved one’s legacy.

Dramatic lotus flower cremation urns 

A predominant symbol in Chinese culture is the lotus. The lotus is the flower of the sixth month of the year, emerging during the fragrant summer season. To bloom, it must rise out of the muck at the bottom of the pond, unfurling its petals against the water’s calm surface. Representing purity, the lotus offers a reminder of how beauty can emerge from darkness.

Black Lotus Cremation Urn

On the Black Lotus Temple Ceramic Cremation Urn, lotus accents emerge from a dramatic pool of black, reminiscent of the flower’s triumph of light over gloom. The urn’s elegant floral pattern reflects an appreciation of a life’s unique splendor. An engravable pendant is available as an addition; adhesive for lid sealing is included inside the urn.


The magical plum blossom

As the first flower to bloom each year, the plum blossom captures the magic of renewal. It is emblematic of perseverance through difficult times. Though it heralds spring, it can appear when the weather is still cold, indicative of its strength and endurance. The plum blossom’s five petals are auspicious, since the number five is sacred in Chinese culture. Associated with the Five Elements—water, fire, wood, metal, and earth—five recognizes the essential parts of a healthy, balanced life. Five appears ubiquitously in Chinese thought, evident in the Five Metals, the Five Blessings, the Five Classics, and so on.

Plum Blossom Cremation Urn

The Plum Blossom Blue Temple Ceramic Urn features the beloved flower in a soft shade of white. It can seem as though the hand-painted, life-like petals are blooming before the naked eye. Made of porcelain, the urn’s floral patterns evoke a sense of tranquility and peace.

Whatever your needs and tastes, each urn featured in this collection is imbued with a sense of serenity. Rich in symbolism drawn from ancient cosmological and mythical beliefs, the collection encapsulates Asian sensibilities drawn from distinct motifs. In this way, imagery forms its own language to console and honor.

Want to see more examples? Explore our Asian Inspired Cremation Urn Collection.

Larissa Breedlove is a New York City-based writer and editor. Much of her work centers on loss, healing, and transformation. She lives in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx with her husband and their cat.


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