- Museum number
Painting showing Kṣitigarbha in the centre, seated on a rock under a canopy, holding a staff and a cintamani (flaming jewel). At the two sides are the Ten Kings of Hell, each one seated behind a desk like a magistrate, flanked by assistants. Before the Bodhisattva stands the monk Daoming with his lion, and an ox-headed jailor leading the soul of a man wearing a cangue, who is viewing his sins in a mirror. Blank cartouches stand on alternate sides of the Ten Kings. Two inscribed cartouches at the side of the figure of Daoming. In the bottom section, donor figures kneeling at the sides of a central blank panel. Ink and colour on silk.
- Production date
- 926-975 (circa)
Height: 91 centimetres
Width: 65.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
From Whitfield 1983:
This painting has still more detail than the preceding one and marks a further stage in the iconographical development of the subject. Ksitigarbha in the centre, holding the staff and cintamani and seated on a rocky outcrop, is, as it were, framed on both sides by the Ten Kings, who are now seated, just as magistrates in the real world would be, each behind his own desk. Yama, the fifth king, is at the lower left, wearing the mian, while the others wear civilian caps, or a kind of winged cap, or, in the case of the figure at top right, full armour with a helmet. On the desks in front of them lie open scrolls with marks to indicate writing, and ink stones. Each has his own attendant (Figs. 33, 34).
Below appear the priest Daoming and his lion. But to them have been added an ox-headed lictor with a huge club, leading the soul of a man wearing a cangue, who in a mirror is being shown an example of his evil actions in life, slaying an ox (Pl. 24-3).
In this depiction, the lengthy journey of the soul, passing for judgement before the first of the Ten Kings on the seventh day after death and successively thereafter on each seventh day until the forty-ninth day, and after that on the hundredth day and on the first and third anniversaries, is spelt out in detail, and the concept of retribution for sins (with the need to earn remission by meritorious acts) takes on its full meaning. Further gruesome details are added in the hand-scrolls illustrating the sutra on paper (Pls. 63, 64), where Ksitigarbha is no longer the central figure.
Perhaps because it is uninscribed (and so may never have come into actual use), the painting is in very good condition and still has a complete border of dark purple silk.
From Whitfield 1983:
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2004 7 May-12 Sept, London, British Library, 'The Silk Road: Trade, Travel, War and Faith'
2007 8 Feb-5 Aug, BM Gallery 91, 'Gods, Guardians and Immortals: Chinese Religious Paintings'
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Sutra of the Ten Kings (Shiwang shengqi jing)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Ch.0021 (Stein no.)