« Peintures bouddhiques du monde des Enfers », Musée national de Corée, Séoul
6 septembre 2011 – 4 mars 2012
L’exposition « Peintures bouddhiques du monde des Enfers » 명부전冥府殿의 불화 (« Buddhist Paintings in the Hall of the Underworld”) présente une sélection d’une vingtaine de peintures issues des collections du Musée national de Corée. Le bodhisattva Ksitigarbha (지장보살) et les Dix rois des Enfers (열 명의 왕 / 시왕), veillant aux renaissances des âmes des défunts, sont les personnages emblématiques qui président le monde des Morts.
L’esprit du défunt est jugé par sept des rois tous les sept jours pendant 49 jours après la mort. Il est de nouveau jugé après cent jours, puis lors du premier et du troisième anniversaire du décès par les 8e, 9e et 10e rois.
Présentation de l’exposition en anglais :
The National Museum of Korea presents a new collection of Buddhist paintings under the title of Buddhist Paintings in the Hall of the Underworld. Called “Myeongbujeon” in Korean, the Hall of the Underworld shows the world of the dead that is ruled by Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva who saves cursed spirits from hell and the Ten Kings who judge the dead who have fallen into hell. This exhibition of Buddhist art presents the paintings of the Buddhist underworld that have been collected by the National
Museum of Korea. The paintings include the savior of the dead spirits and the Ten Judges.
“Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva and the Kings of Hell” exhibits the ruler of the Buddhist underworld being flanked by the Ten Kings and the two messengers, Jikbu Saja and Gamjae Saja, of the underworld.
The highlight of the exhibition includes a collection of portraits titled “The Ten Rulers of Hell,” which was originally enshrined at Taegosa Temple in Bukhansan Mountain. The work originally consisted of ten panels, but today it is missing the fifth panel. The Ten Kings were important objects of worship among the Korean Buddhists because the spirits of the dead are judged by seven
of the Ten Kings once every seven days until the 49th day after death. They are then judged again on the 100th day and on the first and third anniversary of their death by the 8th, 9th, and 10th Kings. According to the traditional folk belief, a memorial ceremony held on these days guides the spirits of the dead to the land of bliss. The paintings also contain scenes of hell in which sinners suffer various punishments.
These paintings of the Buddhist underworld are expected to offer visitors an opportunity to understand the Buddhist view of the world after death and the wishes of the Korean people in the past to save the spirits of their loved ones from the pains of hell and to guide them to heaven where they will be reborn and relish everlasting youth.