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Paper is often offered as a substitute for more substantial gifts to the dead. The Chinese burn paper robes and other paraphenalia that their ancestors can use in the afterlife. The Aztecs made paper cut-out representing ornaments and emblems that the deceased was entitled to wear in life: the real objects were, presumably, recycled.

Four classic "elements" are represented in the offerings to the deceased on the Day of the Dead. Tissue paper represents the wind which it makes visible by its fluttering. [See Stingray Spines, Turquoise.]