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Hell Medical Kit

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In China and other areas that have been influenced by Chinese religious traditions, paper replicas of money, clothing, and luxury goods are often created to be burned for the benefit of deceased loved ones and ancestors. These ephemeral offerings are meant to translate into real materials that can be useful in the everyday, often bureaucratic, afterlife. Most of these are items associated with wealth, such as currency, jewelry, watches, or fancy suits. This kit is somewhat unusual, as it implies that everyday illnesses can continue to be an issue for the dead, and offers relief from these mundane miseries. At a glance, it might be mistaken for a collection of familiar commercial remedies – bandages, cough syrup, lozenges, medicated balm – except that most of these include “Hell” in their product or manufacturer names. Several of the individual boxes in the kit also bear images of the Jade Emperor, ruler of heaven, whose portrait is also featured on nearly all hell bank notes.

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