Ten Kings of Hell


Ten Kings of Hell

Japanese paintings / Nara

By Lu Zongyuan

Yuan dynasty, China, 14th century

Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk

H 85.9, W 50.8 (each)



The two scrolls bear signatures which read Lu Zongyuan. This artist has not been identified, but he may be a member of Lu Xinzhong’s family. The compositions of King Enra (Yama-rāja)’s painting and King Godō Tenrin’s painting are similar to the compositions of Lu Xinzhong’s works kept in Hōnen-ji and other temples. The composition of the painting of King Godō Tenrin by Lu Zongyuan introduced in this article and the composition of the painting with the same motif by Lu Xinzhong in the Nara National Museum have some aspects in common. This fact indicates that the compositions of paintings were succeeded from one artist to another within the studio. Lu Zongyuan left more space in his paintings than Lu Xinzhong did, and Lu Zongyuan’s description of hell, at the bottom of the paintings is more substantial than the description by Lu Xinzhong. The scenes of hell by Lu Zongyuan are not mere appendixes to the major motif of the painting but they have their own significance. Lu Zongyuan’s depiction of divine figures and other objects are less precise than Lu Xinzhong’s works. This indicates that Lu Zongyuan’s paintings were made later than Lu Xinzhong’s. These are important paintings which show Lu’s studio’s tradition of Buddhist painting in a provincial area of China.

Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, p.45, no.30.

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/ 十王 / Xinzhong / Hell

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