- Level 1, Levy Gallery
A fascinating exploration of Buddhist and Daoist deities, Heaven or Hell presents paintings and prints from the ROM’s collection, including never-before-seen works. Dating from the 10th to 20th century, these works express the prevailing Chinese religious and philosophical thinking of the time.,
During this period in Chinese religious history, traditional and Daoist theories of cause and retribution had been integrated with the Buddhist concept of karma, the human acts that induce this cause-and-effect chain. With the introduction of Buddhism also came ideas of hell, heaven and the "pure land".
While heaven and the pure land have been described as blissful dwelling places for the souls of people who led honourable lives, hell has been depicted as a dreadful place of judgment and torture, for those who have led dishonourable lives. Incorporating these concepts of the afterlife, Heaven or Hell offers vivid depictions of some of the divine figures worshipped by Buddhists and Daoists, and the journey souls take once their earthly existence ends.