Folklore has it that it's bad luck to display an empty coffin. Now most of us would never be faced by this problem but the National Museum of Singapore was when it created an exhibition to showcase Chinese funeral rites.
On display was a real coffin on a real hearse used here in the "old days". Not wanted to tempt fate, the museum filled the coffin with pieces of wood just to be on the safe side.
If you look at the picture above carefully, you may notice several paper umbrellas at the head of the hearse. According to legend (and this was news to me - thanks Angeline ...) if you want to bring a spirit outdoors (for whatever reason), it needs to be protected from the rain! So you need to provide the spirit with an umbrella for it to seek shelter while on the go.