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The Griffith and Patricia Way Lecture 2024

March 7, 2024

Join us for the 2024 Griffith and Patricia Way Lecture

Thursday, April 25

5:30 – 7:00 PM

Kane Hall 225 Walker-Ames Room

Reception to follow

What was the moment of death supposed to look like for people living in premodern Japan? While most people surely envisioned seeing the Buddha and his retinue descend at this crucial juncture, many more were undoubtedly anxious about the feasibility of achieving this goal in increasingly difficult times. What if, despite one’s best intentions, one still fell into hell? Or, what if one’s gender precluded the possibility of salvation at the time of death altogether? This talk interrogates two sets of fourteenth-century hell paintings owned by the temples Gokurakuji in Hyōgo Prefecture and Konkaikōmyōji in Kyōto, which both posit the possibility of early escape from the infernal realms, albeit in seemingly contradictory ways.