Collection of the “Ten Kings of Hell” paintings, gilded wood, Restored Le dynasty, 17th – 18th centuries AD.
According to Eastern belief, the Ten Kings of Hell judge people’s crimes after death, in Hell. At each court, in the middle of the upper part of the painting, a large-sized King is carved, wearing the costume of a judge with helpers on either side. In the lower part of the painting, demons in the shape of a buffalo head and horse face are inflecting the punishment. The collection of the “Ten Kings of Hell” is usually worshipped in pagodas, with the intention of educating people to do the right things, to be benevolent, and not to do bad things. In many pagodas, the Ten Kings of Hell are made into ten statues which are placed at either side of the shrine.