Paul Binnie, Hell Courtesan, Jigoku Dayu, Contemporary Art

japanese art authenticityAuthenticity Guaranteed

Original Japanese woodblock print. 

Artist: Paul Binnie (1967 – )
Title: Hell Courtesan (Jigoku Dayu)
Published: by the artist
Date: 2014
Edition: 37/100
Dimensions: 47.5 x 33.5 cm


Once upon a time, a very beautiful and elegant courtesan lived in the pleasure quarters of old Japan. She was the daughter of a samurai, who was kidnapped by his enemies and was sold to a brothel. She renamed herself as “Jigoku” (hell) because she believed that her misfortune was the result of karma from her previous life. When she suddenly became ill and died, Enma-O, the King Of Hell, stood her before his magical mirror, which shows the true souls of the deceased, and she finally understood how black was her heart. To punish her, the King of Hell made her wear an uchikake (outer-kimono) made of all the souls of hell being tortured by demons, the weight of which was a constant reminder to the courtesan of her wretched fate.


In this print, Paul Binnie shows his own rendition of the famous story of Jigoku Dayu. She is seen here smoking a pipe that she’s holding with a skeleton hand. Her kimono shows Enma-O and his demons in Hell inflicting punishments on sinners. One of the demons is playfully tugging at the left-hand side margin of the print.


The artist’s kanji signature, Bin-ni, is printed with silver mica in the form of a tortured soul’s skull on top left.


The edition number is written in pencil on the bottom margin 37/100, signed Paul Binnie also in pencil and embossed Binnie.

More Information
Artist Name Paul Binnie
Title Hell Courtesan (Jigoku Dayu)
Subject Beauty & Female, Spirits & Religion
Condition Report Excellent.
Dimensions 47.5 x 33.5 cm