Traditionally, many Chinese people believe that when a person dies they leave with no earthly possessions. To provide for them in the afterlife, relatives burn paper versions of personal objects. Today these fascinating paper objects can include such mundane household items as microwaves, hairdryers, iPods and fast food meals.
This age old practice dates from the burying of grave goods in Neolithic times. Over centuries, real objects were replaced by bronze or terracotta replicas, which in turn were later replaced by paper money in the form of gold or silver ingots. More contemporary varieties are made of Joss paper. There are now even burial websites which allow descendants to select digital items for online burning.
Kurt Tong's rich, highly-coloured photographs document the recent development of this tradition. They reflect a continued belief in life after death in China, and the influence of an increasingly westernized society.
"In Case it Rains in Heaven" has been exhibited internationally including in a solo show in New York in 2011 and at Compton Verney in 2010, where it now forms part of their permanent collection.
You can read an interview with Kurt about the project in The Daily Undertaker. The book was reviewed in The Guardian by the China correspondent, Tania Branigan and also selected by Picture Editor Sophie Batterbury for The Independent on Sunday's Photo Book of the Year Review.