Comparative Hell: Arts of Asian Underworlds
Hell has been embodied and portrayed in terrifying, bizarre, and occasionally humorous incarnations across religions and cultures for millennia. Whether considered as places of eternal or finite punishment, underworlds provide a rich setting for a potent cast of characters that have caught the imaginations of artists and patrons who have shaped the visual cultures of Asia’s systems of belief, particularly Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Islam. Through masterpieces from West Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the diaspora, paired with essays from renowned scholars, this publication explores both differences and similarities in conceptions of the afterlife and artistic practices from religion to religion and culture to culture. This journey through judgment, punishment, and even the promise of salvation sheds light on the fundamental questions of life, death, and existence. Edited by Adriana Proser. Asia Society, 2023, 224 pp., 139 illus. Color, 8.5 x 11 (21.6 x 28 cm).