Funerary ritual provides one of the most fruitful arenas of social action for functional analysis. Early scholars such as Durkheim and Radcliffe-Brown recognized that the death of an individual, beyond simply representing a loss for family and loved ones, also represents a potential threat to the social order. As a result, funerary rites frequently publically foreground and display ideas considered salient to the maintenance of the social order. As Maurice Bloch and Jonathan Parry commented, “What would seem to be revitalized in funerary practices is that which is culturally conceived to be the most essential to the reproduction of the social order’ (Bloch and Parry 1982:7). Funerary rites in a country such as Vietnam that is firmly within the Confucian cultural sphere would also seem to be fruitful ground for functionalist analysis. The Analects of Confucius are replete with references to the importance of proper mourning behavior. Confucius himself asked, ‘What can I find worthy of note in a man who is ... lacking in sorrow when in mourning?’ (Confucius 1979:71). Later, Vietnamese scholars and officials took their lead from such Chinese scholars as Chu Hsi and published extremely detailed instructions on the proper organization of funeral rites. The logic behind these instructions was that the proper performance of sanctioned ritual, as Laurel Kendall has stated of pre-modern Korea, ‘fostered the morality and well-being of the people’ (Kendall 1994:166), while also legitimating the hierarchical relationships that structured the social order. Pre-revolutionary scholars and officials, one can fairly argue, were themselves committed functionalists who endeavored to create through funerary ritual a unity of morality and values among the people.