Hanging scroll, ink, color, and gold ink on silk
Image: 63 x 45.3 cm (24 13/16 x 17 13/16 in.); Overall: 136.2 x 58.9 cm (53 5/8 x 23 3/16 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund and museum purchase from various donors by exchange and Partial Gift of The Honorable Joseph P. Carroll and Roberta Carroll, M.D. 2019.224
As the concept of salvation became increasingly more emphasized in Buddhist schools in medieval East Asia, the gruesome depiction of various hells was given an important role: to promote Buddhist ethics. In the Buddhist infernal otherworld, the Ten Kings of Hell serve as judges of the deceased to determine their fates, including the type and severity of punishment.
Originally part of a set of ten, this hanging scroll depicts the Fourth King of Hell. Accompanied by his secretary, the king with bulging eyes is seated at the center, overseeing how well his verdict is being conducted. On the bottom, sinners are suffering in a giant cauldron filled with boiling water, constantly pierced by a guard’s burning spears. Ready-made Buddhist paintings from China, created in professional workshops in the port city of Ningbo, are believed to be prototypes for this Korean scroll’s grotesque imagery.
The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
Is something not working on this page? Please email email@example.com.
Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.