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Emma - o, King and Judge of Hell

Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
Buddhists believe in reincarnation, but many schools of Buddhism hold that a sinful person is punished for a period of time between death and rebirth in one of several levels of Hell. Emma-ō, a powerful and fearsome figure, decides the fate of the deceased, sometimes singly and sometimes as part of a group of ten Hell Judges. The image of Emma-ō is a focus for prayers from the living, who ask for leniency for their recently departed loved ones.
MEDIUM Wood with gesso and traces of polychrome and inlaid glass eyes.
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 16th century
    PERIOD Muromachi Period
    DIMENSIONS 19 x 18 1/4 x 13 1/4 in. (48.3 x 46.4 cm)
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
    EXHIBITIONS
    ACCESSION NUMBER 79.277
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. George Mann
    RECORD COMPLETENESS
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