Let's take a field trip to the Daoist underworld

Illustration for article titled Lets take a field trip to the Daoist underworld

At the Beijing Dongyue Temple, you can visit the various "departments" of the Daoist supernatural realm, where terrifying spirits and demonic government officials dwell. Let's meet some of the temple's stranger denizens.

The blog Asia Obscura recently visited the temple (which was founded in 1319) and photographed some underworld bureaucrats from 76 separate departments.

Several of these departments feature rather frightening netherworld employees doling out nasty punishments. Above is a scene from the "Headquarters for Controlling the Punishment." I can only guess what crime justifies having one's tongue stretched out until it's the size of a kielbasa.

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Illustration for article titled Lets take a field trip to the Daoist underworld

Here's the Aquatic Animals Department, which governs those who swim.

Illustration for article titled Lets take a field trip to the Daoist underworld

The Animal Department, which regulates the total amount of animals in existence and is charged with transforming less-than-virtuous dead humans into animals.

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A gnarly representative of the "Evidence Department for Issuing a Warrant," which prevents the improper arrest and convictions of the innocent. I wonder what the paddle does?

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The Department for Implementing 15 Kinds of Violent Death, which enacts grindhouse vengeance against evildoers.

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The Department of Opposing Obscene Acts, which features a temptress and an old lech sneaking a peek with hungry eyes.

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A representative of the Unjust Death Department, which deals with murders and suicides.

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And here's a video of the temple by Cees Looijé from 1999 — the statues appear about halfway in. You can see many more of these supernatural departments over at Asia Obscura.

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