At the Museum

Asia Society

Comparative Hell: Arts of Asian Underworlds
Feb 07, 2023–07 May, 2023

The first comprehensive exhibition in the United States to explore portrayals of hell across the Asian religious traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Islam, Comparative Hell: Arts of Asian Underworlds, examines how systems of belief and the underworlds within them are manifest in the rich artistic creations of Asia.

Exceptional and visually stunning artworks explore the impact of conceptions of hell on Asian visual culture over time. Didactic paintings, sculptures, and sacred objects introduce the notions of Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and Islamic cosmology, as well as ideas about judgment, punishment, and salvation after death—many of which are shared by these traditions. Exhibition artworks portray religious threats of fiery torture as a means to shape values and beliefs, to instill virtuous behavior, and to encourage atonement for sins—reflecting a universal human desire for spiritual transformation.

Photo Credit: Asia Society