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Jain ideas of hell

late 20th century


Unknown Artist

No image
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Bengal India
    Cultural origin
    late 20th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    opaque watercolour on paper
    149.0 x 16.0 cm sight
    Gift of Dr Jim Masselos 2022
    Not on display
    Accession number
  • About

    The Jain religion, together with Hinduism and Buddhism, is one of the main religions of India and has inspired a rich pantheon of imagery relating to its beliefs. Although the various torments to be endured in the Jain hells were frequently depicted in colourful manuscripts, this scroll shows robust figures in black and white only. In Jain cosmology, seven hells are located at the very bottom of the universe, one on top of another and are progressively awful in order of descent in the punishments meted out there. The hells are inhabited by the Paramadharmika, the 'extremely unjust' gods, who vie with each other in devising cruel punishments for those unlucky enough to be reborn there. Among those featured here are the fate of being sawn in two while being pecked by crows, being swallowed by a giant snake, and being shot by arrows and rifles simultaneously.