In Chinese folklore, there are Ten Courts of Hell that sinners pass through after death. This is according to rather graphic dioramas at Haw Par Villa in Singapore, and not any rigorous research on my behalf.
In part 1, we visited courts one through five. Each court specialises in certain crimes and corresponding punishments. As courts six through ten reinforce, the crimes and punishments can get quite specific.
|Sixth Court of Hell|
|Cheating, cursing, abducting others||Thrown onto a tree of knives|
|Misuse of books||Body sawn in two|
|Possession of pornographic material|
|Breaking written rules and regulations|
Whether this guy was using his books as doorstops or letting his bananas go spotty was left unstated.
More importantly, check out that torturer’s red patterned tights and jaunty hat. If you’re going to spend your day sawing people in half, do it in style, that’s his motto.
|Seventh Court of Hell|
|Rumour-mongers||Tongue pulled out|
|Sowing discord among family members|
|Rapists||Thrown into wok of boiling oil|
|Driving someone to their death|
|Eighth Court of Hell|
|Lack of filial obedience||Intestines and organs pulled out|
|Causing trouble for parents or family|
|Cheating during examinations|
|Harming others to benefit oneself||Body dismembered|
|Ninth Court of Hell|
|Robbery, murder, rape||Head and arms chopped off|
|Any other unlawful conduct|
|Neglect of the old and young||Crushed under boulders|
Note that there seems to have been some disagreement when divvying up the crimes among the ten courts. The Seventh Court really wanted to throw rapists into a wok of burning oil (not a bathtub or a whirlpool; a human-sized wok), but the Ninth Court felt it more appropriate to chop their heads and arms off. Is this after they’ve been deep-fried? The Ten Courts of Hell diorama left many questions unanswered.
At the Tenth Court of Hell, sinners receive final judgment. They drink a magical tea to forget their past lives, and then are reincarnated as either nobility, common man, quadruped, fowl, fish or insect.
If I had children, I’d definitely tour them through the Ten Courts of Hell. That way, when they gave me some sass, I could remind them that there’s a demon waiting in the Eighth Court of Hell to pull their intestines and organs out, after which they’ll be reincarnated as a bug. I’d make a great parent.