Title

The Professional Mourner Wore Fishnets

  • A performer smokes during a break at a funeral, Wanzhou district of Chongqing municipality, June 23, 2014.
    A performer smokes during a break at a funeral, Wanzhou district of Chongqing municipality, June 23, 2014.
  • Drag queen Lala, 42, performs at a funeral in Qijiang district of Chongqing municipality, February 28, 2017. Lala is a friend of Liangzi, and she became a funeral performer around 2002.
    Drag queen Lala, 42, performs at a funeral in Qijiang district of Chongqing municipality, February 28, 2017. Lala is a friend of Liangzi, and she became a funeral performer around 2002.
  • A girl watches Liangzi putting on makeup before a funeral performance, Dazu district of Chongqing municipality, July 24, 2016.
    A girl watches Liangzi putting on makeup before a funeral performance, Dazu district of Chongqing municipality, July 24, 2016.
  • Liangzi kneels beside a dead body in front of funeral attendees, November 9, 2014.
    Liangzi kneels beside a dead body in front of funeral attendees, November 9, 2014.
  • Liangzi changes clothes off stage, in a storage shed at a villager’s home, December 23, 2014.
    Liangzi changes clothes off stage, in a storage shed at a villager’s home, December 23, 2014.
  • Two drag queens put on makeup before a show in Wanzhou district of Chongqing municipality, June 22, 2014. The performers are usually paid between 250 to 500 renminbi (U.S.$37 to U.S.$75) for a show. Sometimes wedding parties and birthday parties also hire them to perform. Around the Chinese New Year, they can make twice as much.
    Two drag queens put on makeup before a show in Wanzhou district of Chongqing municipality, June 22, 2014. The performers are usually paid between 250 to 500 renminbi (U.S.$37 to U.S.$75) for a show. Sometimes wedding parties and birthday parties also hire them to perform. Around the Chinese New Year, they can make twice as much.
  • Lala performs at a funeral in Qijiang, March 26, 2015. Lala said, ‘You really have to know how to joke and make people laugh and create a happy atmosphere, even on the hardest day when they lose someone important.’
    Lala performs at a funeral in Qijiang, March 26, 2015. Lala said, ‘You really have to know how to joke and make people laugh and create a happy atmosphere, even on the hardest day when they lose someone important.’
  • Lala smokes after a show at a funeral, September 6, 2016.
    Lala smokes after a show at a funeral, September 6, 2016.
  • Family members of the departed watch Liangzi singing a song, December 23, 2014.
    Family members of the departed watch Liangzi singing a song, December 23, 2014.
  • Lala smokes during a break at a villager’s home, September 13, 2016.
    Lala smokes during a break at a villager’s home, September 13, 2016.

This photo gallery is part of Tomoko Kikuchi’s “Drag Queens for the Dearly Departed,” a project she shot as an Abigail Cohen Fellow in Documentary Photography. Too see the other parts of this project, including an introductory essay by Ian Johnson, click here.

Topics: 
Religion