Ten Kings of Hell


Ten Kings of Hell

Japanese paintings / Nara

By Lu Xinzhong (active 11951277)

Southern Song dynasty, China, 13th century

Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk

H 83.2, W 47.0



It is said that there are ten kings in hell, one of whom is Emma or Enra (Yama). They judge the dead every seventh day between the seventh day and the seventy-seventh day after death, on the hundredth day, and at the first and the third year’s anniversaries of death. In China pictures with this motif painted during the tenth century are still extant. Many pieces from the Song and Yuan dynasties were brought to Japan; The works by Lu Xinzhong were the representative pieces among them. The style of the signature in the painting introduced in this article is, though part of the signature is not visible, identical with the one in Buddha’s Nirvana by Lu Xinzhong kept in the Nara National Museum. In each scroll

Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, p.44, no.29.

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