Title:Attendant to the King of HellArtist:Artist UnknownDate:Chosun dynastyCreation Place:Asia, KoreaCredit Line:Gift of funds from Fred and Ellen WellsAccession Number:97.122.2
Subsidiary halls within Buddhist monastic complexes often featured statues or paintings depicting the fierce Kings of Hell. Here, prayers were offered in an attempt to mitigate the punishments meted out on the souls of the deceased. In addition to painted and sculptural images of the Kings of Hell, artists also depicted attendant figures. This wooden sculpture represents one such figure, holding a long scroll on which the names and judgments would be recorded. The charming, simplified carving style and compact form of the figure are characteristic of Korean folk sculpture. In an interesting mixture of religious beliefs, the figure is dressed in the robes and lacquered hat of a Confucian scholar-official.