hell

The Hellmouth is an entrance to hell that manifests as the open jaws of an infernal beast. Depictions of Hellmouths were common during the Middle Ages and Renaissance in manuscripts, and even as dramatic mechanical set pieces in theatrical productions.

Image sources:

  • Detail of The Mouth of Hell, from the Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves, 1440
  • Vision de l’Enfer (Vision of Hell), from Les Visions du chevalier Tondal, 1475
  • Ludolf of Saxony, Inferno, from Speculum Humanae Salvationis, 1455
  • Lambert of Saint-Omer, Liber Floridu, 1250 – 1275
  • Detail of Jugement Dernier – Damnés (Last Judgement – The Damned Souls), 1492

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In Chinese mythology, Ox-Head and Horse-Face are guardians of the Underworld, and act as the equivalent to the Angel of Death. They capture and escort human souls to be judged in the courts of Hell, and are messengers of the king of Hell, Yanluo Wang. Images by Jnzl on Flickr

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El Tío (The Uncle) is the devil-like spirit who rules over the mines of Cerro Rico in Bolivia. Statues of this “Lord of the Underworld” can be found all throughout Cerro Ricco’s mines, with offerings like cigarettes, coca leaves, and alcohol left for protection and appeasement.

“Miners may be Christians when above ground, but when in the mine, El Tio is their only god.”

Images: SHIBUYA K, Erik Duinkerken, Jofrigerio, Harry en Marleen

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