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From the artist:
In ancient times they went from village to village seeking out the dead. Once found they were hired at funerals, to take it upon themselves the sin of the deceased, that the soul might be delivered from purgatory, thus absolving the soul of the person. He would pronounce “the ease and rest of the soul departed, ” for which he would pawn his soul and would typically be rewarded by consuming a ritual meal and drink, to magically take on the sins of a person or household.
Cultural anthropologists and folklorists classify sin-eating as a form of ritual.