Collection Studio 3.65
[ release date: March 22, 2012 ]
Hell bank notes
Hell bank notes are a special form of joss paper, an afterlife monetary paper offering used in traditional Chinese ancestor veneration, that can be printed in the style of western or Chinese paper bank notes.
In order to ensure that spirits have lots of good things in the afterlife, their relatives send them paper presents, and one of the things that are usually sent to ancestors are Hell Bank Notes – money to spend in the afterworld.
In some mythology, the Hell Bank Notes are sent by living relatives to dead ancestors to "bribe" the King of Hell for a shorter stay or to escape punishment, or for the ancestors to use themselves in spending lavish items in the afterlife. In these more modern times, the creation of Hell Bank Notes credit cards and checks have become very popular. The designs on these "credit cards" vary from the very simple (with just a basic "VISA" stamped on a gold cardboard card), to very elaborate (with custom artwork and names).
Regardless of the presentation, Hell Bank Notes are well known for their outrageously large denominations, ranging from $10,000, $100,000, $1,000,000 or even $500,000,000. On every bill, it will usually feature an image of the Jade Emperor, and his Western signature (Yu Wong, or Yuk Wong) countersigned by Yanluo, King of Hell (Yen Loo). On the back of each bill, it features a portrait of the bank of Hell.
How Is It Used?
The two most traditional times of year to burn Hell Bank Notes are during Ching Ming (The Festival of Pure Brightness) and Yue Laan (The Hungry Ghosts Festival). Another delivery method is to toss it in the air during the funeral procession or leave it on the grave of the deceased any time one desires.
Who's The Guy In The Hat?
Common on the faces of all Hell Bank Notes is the image of the living Chinese Emperor of the Afterworld: the Lord of Hell. As a reward for his great leadership, he earned the right to reign over the afterworld. He's shown wearing a beard and a flat-topped hat with beads hanging from the front and back.
The backs of the notes vary. They will depict a pavilion or pagoda, with tiled roofs. This may be the Bank of Hell, or just a temple. Sometimes these buildings are adorned with dragons or foo-dogs (they estate to frighten away evil spirits), and sometimes only the animals appear.