Category: taoism

The Jade Record or “Yuli” is an illustrated religious tract that circulated in various versions and editions in the 1800s in China. It describes the horrors of Diyu –  “earth prison,” or hell, based on a mix of Chinese Daoism and Buddhist tradition.

According to the Jade Record, bad people are sent through ten courts after they die. Each specializes in punishing a specific misdeed. Examples include having weak faith in the Buddha, gambling, drinking, stealing, drowning baby girls, and disbelieving in the Jade Record.

At the end of their journey through Diyu, souls forget their past life, in the goddess Meng’s “Tower of Forgetting.” They are then reincarnated in a new body. The new body depends on their old life. Bad people get bad bodies, good people get good bodies. Options include being an animal, an ill or ugly person, a poor person, and if they are lucky, a rich person.

This beautiful piece was carved by hand from camel bone! Depicting Kwanyin Mountain, it contains about 27  hand-carved Taoist immortals, flowers, clouds, and a central pagoda. Chinese, 1800s.