Hungry Ghosts in Art and Culture: Background information when reading Hungry Ghosts

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Hungry Ghosts

A Novel

by Kevin Jared Hosein

Hungry Ghosts by Kevin Jared Hosein X
Hungry Ghosts by Kevin Jared Hosein
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  • Published:
    Feb 2023, 336 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Jane McCormack
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About this Book

Hungry Ghosts in Art and Culture

This article relates to Hungry Ghosts

Kevin Jared Hosein's title Hungry Ghosts has its origin in Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism. According to the Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, hungry ghost, or preta "literally means 'one who has gone away from here' and is used to indicate the disembodied spirit of a dead person, especially during the first ten days after death." The word is also used to refer to a ghost, generally the spirit of a great sinner, whose unfulfilled desire or hunger compels it to wander in search of satiety, straddling the worlds of the living and the dead.

Illustration from the Bakemono zukushi scroll, 18th or 19th century JapanHungry ghosts have been portrayed in various artworks, often depicted with tiny mouths and throats and the swollen bellies of the starving, meaning they can never consume enough to ease the suffering of their hungers. Some of the images of hungry ghosts are believed to date back as far as the eighth century CE, such as the allegorical Gaki Sochi scrolls housed in Japan's Kyoto National Museum.

Hungry ghosts also appear in ...

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