In Shanghai a funeral home has started using 3D printing technology to replicate parts of the face of a dead person whose head has been badly smashed and disfigured.
Chinese people reckon it to be of paramount importance to present a dead person at their funeral looking good.
The 3D printing process is reckoned to achieve at least 95 per cent resemblance. It is achieved by scanning a photo of the dead person and taking a 3D scan of their head. The new part is then printed and slotted in. The printer can reproduce hair and even a moustache.
It takes hours to do this. Conventional reconstruction using wax and clay can take days.
The value of embalming is hotly debated, the value of reconstruction not so. The value of being able to present to parents the reconstructed features of a child who has died violently is inestimable. The skills of the best embalmer-reconstructers are marvellous, their dedication amazing.
They could soon find themselves being superceded by a soulless machine.