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Buddhist Paintings in the Hall of the Underworld
Date 2012-02-03 Hit 1276

 

Buddhist Paintings in the Hall of the Underworld

 

Location  : Buddhist Painting Gallery

 

Date         : 09-06-2011 ~ 09-10-2012

 

The National Museum of Korea presents a new collection of Buddhist paintings under the title of Buddhist Paintings in the Hall of the Underworld. Called “Myeongbujeon” in Korean, the Hall of the Underworld shows the world of the dead that is ruled by Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva who saves cursed spirits from hell and the Ten Kings who judge the dead who have fallen into hell. This exhibition of Buddhist art presents the paintings of the Buddhist underworld that have been collected by the National Museum of Korea. The paintings include the savior of the dead spirits and the Ten Judges.

 

“Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva and the Kings of Hell” exhibits the ruler of the Buddhist underworld being flanked by the Ten Kings and the two messengers, Jikbu Saja and Gamjae Saja, of the underworld.

 

The highlight of the exhibition includes a collection of portraits titled “The Ten Rulers of Hell,” which was originally enshrined at Taegosa Temple in Bukhansan Mountain. The work originally consisted of ten panels, but today it is missing the fifth panel. The Ten Kings were important objects of worship among the Korean Buddhists because the spirits of the dead are judged by seven of the Ten Kings once every seven days until the 49th day after death. They are then judged again on the 100th day and on the first and third anniversary of their death by the 8th, 9th, and 10th Kings. According to the traditional folk belief, a memorial ceremony held on these days guides the spirits of the dead to the land of bliss. The paintings also contain scenes of hell in which sinners suffer various punishments.

 

These paintings of the Buddhist underworld are expected to offer visitors an opportunity to understand the Buddhist view of the world after death and the wishes of the Korean people in the past to save the spirits of their loved ones from the pains of hell and to guide them to heaven where they will be reborn and relish everlasting youth.

 

 

 

Jikbu Saja (Messenger of Hell)

Jikbu Saja delivers a record of the sins of the deceased to the ruler of hell.

 

Gamjae Saja (Messenger of Hell)

Gamjae Saja visits the home of the deceased person to keep a strict watch over him or her.

 

King Jingwang (One of the Ten Kings: The Rulers of Hell)

He is the first of the Ten Underworld Kings and is responsible for the judgment that is held on the 7th day after death. In the lower left part of the painting there are jailers throwing sinners down to a dense wood of swords.

 

King Pyeongdeung (One of the Ten Kings: The Rulers of Hell)

He is the eighth of the Ten Underworld Kings and is responsible for the judgment that is held on the 100th day after death. On the King's table there are several stationery items including a brush holder containing brushes, and books and scrolls, all of which are depicted in a folk painting style.

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